Look for energy-saver appliances to help lower your monthly bills
Appliances definitely make life easier, but you don’t need them to suck out all your house energy.
New energy standards—especially the ENERGY STAR program, a set of energy efficiency
guidelines set by the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy—have improved some of the major power
Kitchen ranges offer more oven insulation than previous models and automatic pilot lights for gas
ranges. New ENERGY STAR-rated refrigerators use less than one-fourth as much electricity as they
did in 1972. A modern ENERGY STAR clothes washer uses less water and electricity than models
manufactured a mere fifteen years ago, and ENERGY STAR clothes dryer models use less electricity.
Should you replace for the sake of efficiency? It depends on the age of the appliance you’re replacing
and the amount of energy it consumes versus the cost of a new appliance and the cost savings from its
lower energy use.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are standard in new homes and can be retrofitted to many older systems.
Call an electrician to install any thermostat running off high-voltage wiring.
Turn off the power to the thermostat, furnace, and air conditioner before removing the old thermostat.
Mark the old wires according to where they were attached on the old thermostat and tape them to the wall to prevent them from
falling into the wall cavity.
Water Heater Temperature
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for each 10-degree reduction in water temperature, you save 3-5 percent in energy
A hot water temperature of 120 degrees F is recommended for most households, although some dishwashers might require 130
degrees F or more.
If you have an electric water heater, consult the owner’s manual for precautions for adjusting the thermostat.
Insulating accessible hot water pipes reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2–4 degrees more than noninsulated pipes.
You can further cut down electricity consumption and costs by using your appliances smartly. For
instance, run full loads of clothes and dishes or use a refrigerator to its full capacity.
Showering accounts for 25 percent of individual water usage.
Low-flow showerheads with a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute or less include aerating, which mixes air with water, and
Another option is a shower-head with a built-in shut-off or soap-up valve, which allows the user to decrease the water flow down to
a light mist or shut off completely.
Installation is easy and requires only a wrench and Teflon plumber’s tape.
Do you really need to keep your old refrigerator in the garage or basement as an “extra”? This
more than negates any energy savings with a new model. Better to buy a larger kitchen
refrigerator if you need the extra capacity than maintain a second one.
Energy saving and exhaust fans are somewhat mutually exclusive.
You want a powerful fan that draws fumes and moisture out fast, which means it removes heat quickly, too; it’s better to vent
faster and for a shorter amount of time.
Run your exhaust fans only as long as you need to clear the bathroom and keep heat loss to a minimum.
A bathroom fan timer can control and reduce excess usage.