Energy Saving Tips

Category Energy
Saving energy is not just a trendy thing to do, it not only is good for the planet, but also can reduce your household expenses. This is a page about energy saving tips.
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When free of clogs, flames will be blue and even.

When free of clogs, flames will be blue and even.

In a year of high heating bills, finding ways to save energy can really add up to big savings. Because the kitchen is usually one the busiest rooms in the home, it is also one of the rooms that uses the most energy. Follow these simple, inexpensive tips to shave a few dollars off your energy bill.

The Oven and Stove

Energy (fuel) costs from cooking can run from $50-$100 per year. Over time, a few simple changes can add up to big savings.

Clean the reflectors under the burners to reflect heat more efficiently.

Gas burners should be cleaned on a regular basis to keep food and grease from clogging ports. When free of clogs, flames will be blue and even. A yellow flame suggests the port needs to be cleaned or adjusted. The tip of the flame (hottest part) should reach the bottom of the pan.

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Food cooked in ceramic or glass pans and dishes will cook at lower temperatures than those cooked in metal.

Avoid "peeking" into the oven to check on baking progress. Each time you open the door, you lose 25% of the heat.

Turn off burners during the last few minutes of cooking. The remaining heat will be enough to finishing the cooking.

Match the pot to the burner. Heat and energy are lost if the burner is bigger than the size of the pot.

If you're considering a new cook top, induction cook tops are the most efficient users of energy. They use up to 90% of the energy they produce (electric burners use about 65% and gas burners use 55%).

The Refrigerator

Believe it or not, your refrigerator can be the third largest contributor to your total energy bill. When it's time to decide whether to repair an older model, it would be wiser to invest the money into a new, more energy efficient model; you'll see an instant $75-$100 savings on your yearly electric bill. In the meantime, try these tips.

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To keep your refrigerator running at peak efficiency, keep the coils on the back and bottom clean and cool. This means routine vacuuming of the condensing coils and keeping them away from external heat sources like stoves, radiators and heat vents. Leave enough space between the coils and the wall for cooling air circulate around the condensing coils.

Give gaskets the dollar bill test. Close the door on one half of a dollar bill. If it pulls out easily when tugging on it, your not getting a good seal and your gaskets may need replacing or adjusting.

Your refrigerator and freezer will perform better if kept relatively full. Make sure food items are spaced a little apart to allow air to circulate around them.

Keep temperature settings between 38ºF and 40º F in the refrigerator, and 5ºF in the freezer (stand alone freezers should be kept at 0ºF).

Keep humidity down by keeping liquids covered and make sure hot foods are allowed time to cool before storing.

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The Garbage Disposal

Running cold water while operating your garbage disposal will save energy on water heating. Use hot water only when necessary to wash away small amounts of grease.

The Dishwasher

If your dishwasher has an automatic air-dry setting, turn it off. Letting dishes air dry by opening the door can reduce a dishwasher's energy use by half. Use a good quality dishwasher detergent to prevent spots.

Pre-rinse your dishes (using cold water) before loading the dishwasher and only run when you have a full load. Run you dishwasher in the energy savings mode if you have one, and use cold water for the rinse cycle.

The Water Faucet

If you have a leaky faucet, fix it. It can usually be done for the price of a couple of washers, but a slow drip (especially hot water) can cost $35-$40 per year.

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Consider attaching a low-flow aerator to your kitchen faucet. They reduce the amount of water you use without producing a noticeable difference in water flow. They are easy to install, cost from $1 to $5 dollars and will help lower your water bill and water heating costs.

The Microwave

Microwaves use as little as half the amount of energy of a conventional oven, so use them in place of conventional stoves and ovens whenever possible. Other advantages include the fact that they produce less of a build up of radiant heat in the kitchen during warm weather and they provide the most efficient means of reheating, cooking small portions and defrosting food.

Other Appliances

Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use or when you're planning on being away from home for a few days.

As old appliances wear out or break down, replace them with energy efficient models like Energy Star® appliances.

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Task Lighting

Utilize task lighting in the kitchen whenever possible and replace burned out bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.

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Read More Comments

My most effective energy saver is using the foil like car windshield visors. I cut them to fit my windows (foil side out), and taped up. The cost out of pocket is about 6 bucks.

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July 27, 2009

I started being conscious of energy use via lighting in the 70's. The first thing I did was train my 2 children to turn off the lights when they weren't using them.

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December 23, 2004

Tips to help you save on heating, appliances, water and electricity.

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November 23, 2004

To save energy while cooking, try to cook more than one thing at once in the oven. For example, when I'm cooking a casserole at 400 F, I also put in the oven a batch of muffins. The muffins just come out of the oven earlier.

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January 31, 2001

Here are some tips to help limit the amount of electricity you use cooking and baking: Avoid defrosting food in your microwave, plan ahead and defrost food the old fashioned way. Use your microwave instead of your conventional oven when possible, it uses less electricity.

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An energy tip. If you use fans, turn them off when you leave the room. Fans cool people, not air. This mistake I've been making all along is now corrected.

A ceiling fan that is not moving.

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In colder climates, instead of using the exhaust fan to clear the steam after a shower, open your bathroom door. The rest of the house can benefit from the moisture and heat the steam, and you will not be not sucking heat out of your home via the fan.

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September 15, 2004

The average house uses 38 percent of its total annual energy use on heating. When a house is occupied, the thermostat should be set at 65 to 68 degrees F for maximum energy efficiency.

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January 17, 2001

California's power problems continue to escalate and Oregon and Washington are starting to feel a crunch as well. Today we have some conservation tips from various places and we welcome your ideas as well.

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Why cool or heat unused spaces? Keep your closet, pantry and cabinet doors closed. As an experiment, I measured all our cabinets and closets in the house and added them up. It added up to over 500 square feet. That is the equivalent of a good sized room.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

ThriftyFun.com Staff
December 27, 2000

As the California energy crisis continues to draw more concern around the country we think this is a good time to start a discussion about energy conservation. For the most part we will publish one new brainstorm a week, but we are publishing a second one regarding energy conservation this week. We will revisit some information we have published in the past, tomorrow and would like hear your thoughts on what you do to help conserve energy.

Answers

December 27, 20000 found this helpful

THINK before you flip the light switch! I can read the morning paper in my cozy but practically window-less living room if I turn on a lamp .... or I can sit in my sunny kitchen and read the paper with no lights turned on. In nice weather, I can sit in my courtyard and read at the lawn table.

Always put lids on pots when bringing water to a boil.

I hardly ever use my clothes dryer. You will be amazed how much energy you can save by hanging clothes to dry -- on a clothesline in nice weather, on a rack or indoor clothesline in bad weather. Turn heavy pants like jeans inside-out so the pockets can flap in the breeze -- less double layers of cloth means they dry faster. Sweatshirts also dry faster inside out. Air-dried clothes too stiff for you? Toss the dry clothes in the dryer for 5 minutes to "fluff" them .... you've still saved a lot of energy!

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December 28, 20000 found this helpful

I was always running around turning thermostats back down after family members would crank them up to warm a room, stay 15 minutes, and leave without re-adjusting the temp. I bought them throw blankets, and sweaters, but they were never handy. So, when the cold weather comes, I scatter throw blankets on all of the chairs, and sofas. They are soft, and warm, and handier than getting up to crank up the heat. No more blazing rooms with no occupants.

Dawn

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January 2, 20010 found this helpful

Dishwashers use less hot water than hand washing. To make them an even better energy saver, open up the door when the machine gets to the dry cycle and let the dishes air dry.

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Anonymous
January 17, 20010 found this helpful

I live in California, and here is my idea for energy conservation. One night
a week should be a "candlelight night." Try not to cook that evening. Of
course, you could reheat if hot food is necessary to you and your family.
Build a fire in your fireplace. Serve dinner by candlelight. I don't turn on any lights at all that night. I have found safe holders for candles that I can carry from room to room. I even put a mirror under the candles to increase the light. Try not turning on the television or computer for a while. See what kinds of games you can play by candle light. It is fun for kids to see how our ancestors lived!

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Anonymous
January 22, 20010 found this helpful

Throw in a couple of dry towels when put a load of wet laundry in the
dryer. They absorb moisture and cut down on the amount of time and
energy needed to dry the laundry. Also, hang as much as possible to air
dry will not only cut down on energy for drying, but will also help add
moisture to the air which will help it feel warmer in your room. - MeloDee French

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Anonymous
February 1, 20010 found this helpful

Shut off your iron when you're NEARLY done ironing the last piece of clothing. It will retain heat for a few minutes.

The same goes for a pot of something cooking on an electric burner or in the oven. If it is very near done, shut it off and use the last of the waning heat to save a little money and energy. - Nett of NH

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Anonymous
February 26, 20010 found this helpful

Use lower wattage lights,we live in a forested area so an outside night light is needed but we've cut down from a 60 watt to a 15.I wish we had stayed at a 40.Those 15 watt bulbs are expensive!
Don't run your water heater all the time.
Also our flourescent kitchen light over the sink shines over a large section of our yard.
The Best Energy,Money & Environment Saving hint I Ever got was from Heloise a Long time ago.
Most people use batteries for something.Clean the contacts with an emery board or even a rock or tree if your flashlight goes dim while walking the dog.
I got through a 46 hour Hurricane Kate outtage on one set of Batteries by scubbing them against the terrycloth tank top I was wearing.
We don't use our dryer much either but we do use it to fluff up seemingly dead pillows
it only takes a couple of minutes.
Laundry smells better when it hangs out & towels are more absorbent.

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January 16, 2010

Most hints for energy savings are for home owners. Are there any for duplex dwellers? Are there web sites for this? I'm not allowed to even change the curtain rods, the curtains yes, but they must fit the rod that is installed. Any hints on water conservation, electric and heat energy savings? Thanks.

By Helen from central IL

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January 8, 2018

With the rising cost of some forms of energy, depleting resources, and continued pollution you may want to look at ways you can save energy. There are a number of easy to follow suggestions on this page. This is a page about how to conserve small, medium, and large amounts of energy.

Conserving Energy Sign

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

May 20, 2008

Summer brings hot dry weather. With high temperatures cooling systems run longer and expenses go up. Cooling your home is easier if it doesn't heat up. Good insulation, caulking and weather stripping, as well as overhangs, awnings and shades serve to keep the heat outside during the summertime.

Some energy saving tips are:

  • Use electricity during off-peak hours to reduce the load on your utility. Off-peak hours are 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

  • If using the air conditioner, set the thermostat to the highest comfortable setting, 78 degrees (F) works for most people. You will save 5 to 10 percent on the operating cost of the air conditioner for every two degrees of cooling you are willing to give up.

  • Set refrigerator temperatures between 37 and 40 degrees F. Keep the refrigerator stocked; it takes more energy to cool an empty fridge. Use a thermometer to verify temperatures.

  • Shut off or unplug lights, computers and other electronic appliances when you're not using them.

  • Lower the temperature on an electric water heater to 120 degrees F. Turn it off when leaving for extended periods of time.

  • Close blinds, drapes or window coverings on the south facing windows. This reduces the amount of heat build-up in the home. Properly adjust window awnings for optimal shading.

  • Use ceiling or portable fans to keep air moving.

  • Save washing clothes/dishes and showers for the early morning or evening time, when it's cooler. These activities build up humidity, when air conditioners work to remove humidity.

  • Use your microwave, toaster oven or grill instead of the stove or oven. They use less energy and prevent excessive heat build-up in the house.

  • Wash full loads of dishes and air dry.

  • When washing clothes, use warm or cold water and rinse with cold.

  • Clean coils on the refrigerator, lint from dryer, the dust on lights, the debris in/on the air conditioning unit, the filter on the AC unit, the frost in your freezer. Equipment will last longer and save energy.

When purchasing new appliances for the home, choose an energy-efficient model. Look for Energy Star appliances. These appliances cost more initially, but will save both money and energy over its entire life. An appliance that is cheaper will have higher operating costs and the savings you'll accumulate from using an Energy Star appliance will be substantial. See the Energy Star Web site at www.energystar.gov for more information on home products.

Enjoy your summer and take a few simple steps to conserve energy and save money.

Source: University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County Submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator

Answers:

Energy Saving Tips - Summer

I found by going to a hardware store an getting the dark plastic that goes right on the windows helps so much. you just cut to size of the window, spray with a little water an put on the plastic. if you move you can always take it off the windows an take it with you. (05/17/2004)

By jodi

Saving Energy by Landscaping

If you own your home, consider landscaping as a means to reduce energy costs. Believe it or not, positioning trees carefully around your home can save up to 25% of a typical household's energy for heating and cooling.

By Robin (12/23/2004)

By ThriftyFun

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