Energy Saving Tips


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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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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. 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.


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.


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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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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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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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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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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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