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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 guide about energy saving tips.


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By 0 found this helpful
January 13, 2006

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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August 26, 2011

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.

I also keep liter water bottles frozen in freezer. When heat index gets really high, I supplement the A/C by putting a frozen liter bottle in front of a floor fan blowing on me. I'm really hot natured, and this works great. The window shades almost black out a room, which helps daytime sleepers on the cheap.

I change my A/C filters about every 3 weeks to keep it efficient. I buy a roll of hog hair filter for under 50 dollars and it lasts way over a year.

By lori macDonald from Marion, AR

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

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, 20040 found this helpful

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

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November 23, 20040 found this helpful

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, 20010 found this helpful

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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By 0 found this helpful
December 11, 2007

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, 20040 found this helpful

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, 20010 found this helpful

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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July 24, 2016

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. Staff0 found this helpful
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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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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June 6, 20040 found this helpful

I buy Zeolite in bulk quanties and use it for almost everything. It is an amazing mineral. To cut down on utility bills, I keep a bag of Zeolite ( 1 lb poured into old pantyhose) and place in refrigerator. The Zeolite will absorb all of the odors and moisture leaving the refrigerator fresh and dry. Will cut down on electrical use. Also, Zeolite is a great replacement for sand in swimming pools as it reduces backwashing, chemical use and filters a lot finer. Zeolite absorbs and traps water, so you can use it in the garden to keep the soil moist and reduce the amount of water that you need.

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October 6, 20040 found this helpful

underneath drapes that you would normally keep closed in winter anyway - stich or clip clear sheet plastic or hang it from a 2nd rod - then, if you want to open the drapes for the light or to lift the depression - the plastic is still there to help keep the drafts out

when it's cold in the kitchen is a PERFECT time to do some baking ! Even if it's just a potatoe or an apple !

Make a draft guard to place in front of the door
measure the door width & from an old bedspread or whatever - sew the cloth into a tube shape & put in rolled up layers of newspapers - make it about as big around as a softball - you'll be surprised how much warmer it is

I got 2 electric blankets 1/2 price - they originally were over $50 for the queen size & 29 or so for the twin size for my son ! Dress the bed in winter with flannel sheets ! f you don't have those- before you get in - use the blow dryer to warm it up - or turn the bed covers down an hr or so before bedtime to let them get warm & turn the stat down to 68 or so - with the flannel sheets & flannel jamas (I call mine :"mamajammas" -- the old lady type with ruffles ! ) & the electric blankie you'll be as warm as toast ! If it's REALLY cold & I'm chilling I wear some excersise pants under the mamajammas - Not too "fashionable" but do you want FASHION or do you want WARM ???
If you have a woodstove or fireplace - you might heat a brick & wrap it in a towel & secure it & put @ the foot of the bed under the covers - or to be conservative with the cooking heat - wrap your potatoe(s) in foil & place on the hearth or in the coals - Voila !
If you work & want to have a canned good when you get home for supper- use a juice can opener & make a hole in the can & sit it on the pilot light to warm all day
or in a clean clay flower pot wrap some bread slices in paper towel & sit it on the pilot light to warm - yum !

I wish I had a wood stove - after the last ice storm we had here there was free wood everywhere !
Plus, there are several woodwork shops around here who hea scrap up & we have gone & got it for my parents stove ! Some of it is craft ready !

Sweaters can be layered too ! Or borrow your husbands or sons thermals & wear under a sweater ! My mom sometimes wears a flannel shirt over whatever else she has on -- not too pretty but helps her keep warm !
We have a free store here & I have gotton lots of sweaters - nice ones- just launder them first "to be sure"
Wear a stocking sort of cap to preserve body heat in winter

We once helped a friend who lived in a VERY cold apt by lifting his matress which was on springs - not a box & layered newspapers & an old blanket to help insulate the bed

Keep your bathroom door closed before you bathe or shower so it warms up
Invest in an inexpensive kerosene heater to use when bathing - makes a HUGE difference in how you enjoy your bath ! Or even light a candle or 2 to help take the chill off !
My office is so cold in the winter I got an electric heater for $10 to help keep me warm so I don't end up sick in the winter & beside my kitchen sink is the back porch with no door- so I hung a heavy drape to help me not catch my death ! & If it's too cold to have my hands in the water to risk pnuemonia I just don't Do them until I feel I can do so without risking my health - which sometimes has been 3 or 4 days - but HEY ! Hose them down so they don't get hard

Keep a pr or 2 of dry socks in the car in case you get your feet wet in the rain or snow !
Doesn't so much conserve ENERGY but sure helps keep from "taking chill"

Rooms your not using - close off & shut the vents - even the bedrooms during the day don't need all that much warmth unless your using them !

2 times this summer my toilet has stopped flushing - so I have been recycling my bath water to force flush it ! I saved a big plastic cat food jug to do this & in the past we had the kids carry used bathwater out to the gardens ! In the summer if you water at night with used warm bathwater - it causes a GREAT scent --we did this to our merigolds

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By Melissa frm NY (Guest Post)
January 27, 20050 found this helpful

Im not sure if this is available in all areas, but with my local Gas and electric co. you can have, what they call an off peak meter, put on instead of the every day ones they normally use. We have one installed and we also have our hot water tank, dish washer, washer and dryer put on timers. The cost per ohm cuts in half if used at night. They have discounted rates between the hours of 11:30 pm and 6:30 am. My utility bill has been cut in half.

I am usually up after 11 so i load the dishwasher then, the washer and dryer. My girls get up at 6 and 7 in the morning to take showers and the hot water stays quite warm throughout the day right up until about 5 pm. may not be scalding hot but warm enough to wash hands. I truly cant believe the price cut my bill has been since we started using this system. Call local Gas and Electric company and ask. Also most co. offer a winterization program for qualified people. Even if you dont qualify they will tell you things to do to save on your utility bills.

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July 8, 20060 found this helpful

We bought 5 year flourescent bulbs and replaced all our old style bulbs. Though the bulbs cost more initially, we have seen a reduction in the cost of our overall electric bill.

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By jim (Guest Post)
March 28, 20070 found this helpful

Why not close down all fast food drive thrus? Too many people spend too much time in these lines while their cars idle away fuel and emit pollutants. Besides, the walk inside might just be healthier for them.

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Answer this Question...

By 0 found this helpful
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


January 16, 20100 found this helpful

There are some tips here:
http://planetgr  r-apartment.html
http://www.ccet  ngs/tenants.html
http://www.dps.  us/aptdwell.html
http://www.bost  com/enrgyapt.htm

or any of the other articles here for tips that would be relevant to your situation:  savers+apartment

I have heard of using bubble wrap in windows:
http://planetgr  bubble-wrap.html
http://www.buil  n/bubblewrap.htm

It allows light to come through so it can be left up if you want to. Stays up with just a spritz of water. (I don't know if I would use it though if there is a heater directly under the window as in our one case it fell down.)

Or I have read where apt renters cut cardboard or insulating foam board to fit inside the windows and then take them down during the day.
http://www.buil  boardShutter.htm

Or using a spring-loaded type tension rod to put up a more insulating curtain or quilt.

If you sew you could add an insulating liner fabric to your curtains which would also work in the summertime to help keep the heat out as well as the warm in the winter.

You could also ask your apt manager if anything is allowed even though it is written as not. But get it in writing that they allowed you to make the changes. If it is something that would be more or less permanent often times they let you do it if you allow it to stay once you move out of your apt.

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January 20, 20100 found this helpful

You mentioned water conservation. We have a toilet that has a water saver in it. I have heard that you can put a block such as a jug filled with water in the tank that will do the same thing. It takes less water to flush. There might be an adjustment on the float also that will save water.

Don't let water run while washing dishes, wash them all then rinse them all at one time. Shut off your shower while you soap, the old military shower my husband calls it, we used to do this when we were camping to conserve water. Think of your apartment as camping and apply the same principals.

Make sure lights are shut out in rooms not occupied, heat vents shut and those windows locked. In the summer block those windows with reflective material to keep the heat out.

Turn your water heater down and your thermostat, put on a sweater. Keep your freezer full makes it run less. Hope these have helped.

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Read More Answers

January 8, 20180 found this helpful

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 guide about how to conserve small, medium, and large amounts of energy.

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

May 20, 20080 found this helpful

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 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


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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