25 simple ways to save
Last reviewed: August 2009
- Clean the coils behind or underneath your refrigerator with a tapered appliance brush to keep it running efficiently.
- Skip prerinsing dishes. Our tests have found that it¹s unnecessary, and you'll save up to 6,500 gallons of water per year.
- Opt for the cold-water wash cycle and save about $60 a year.
- Put your PC to sleep. Save $25 to $75 each year by using the system standby or hibernating feature on your computer.
- Plug electronics into a power strip so that you can turn them all off at once.
- Don't overload the dryer. Clothes will take longer to dry, and they'll come out wrinkled. When the weather is warm, line dry.
- Open blinds and shades on cold days. Solar heat gain can raise interior temperature significantly. But close them at night
to minimize heat loss.
- Dust off the slow cooker. You'll use a lot less energy than cooking a meal across several burners and in the oven.
- Keep car tires properly inflated. In our tests of a Toyota Camry, fuel efficiency dropped 1.3 mpg when the tires were deflated
by 10 psi.
- See whether your utility company offers rebates to customers who replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. Some
states hold periodic "tax holidays" for purchases of energy-efficient appliances.
- Lower the temperature a degree or two before guests arrive. A house full of people generates a lot of body heat.
- Clean or replace furnace filters monthly during the heating season. Clogged filters force the blower to work longer, raising
your electric bills.
- String LED lights this holiday season. They last longer. Our tests have shown that they can save up to $11 per season.
- Insulate and seal cracks and gaps in your ducts. That can help reduce energy costs by 30 percent.
- Lower water-heater temperature to 120 degrees from 130 and insulate hot-water pipes to knock up to 5 percent off your energy
- Weather-strip old windows and doors. It's the surest way to close the gaps around openings, reducing heating and cooling costs
by 15 to 30 percent.
- Control outdoor lights with sensors or timers so that fixtures stay off during the day.
- Install a high-efficiency showerhead. It will reduce hot water use by up to 50 percent.
- Upgrade to a low-flow toilet and save 4,000 gallons per year.
- Drain a bucket's worth of water from your water heater a few times a year to remove sediment, which can decrease efficiency.
- Move the thermostat to an inside wall away from windows and doors so that drafts don't cause the heating system to cycle on
- Add insulation. An estimated 80 percent of older homes are underinsulated. Properly insulating and sealing your home can cut
your heating and cooling bills by 10 percent.
- Plant a deciduous shade tree on the west and southwest sides of a house to save energy.
- Zone heat smartly. A portable heater in a room saves money only if you're willing to keep the rest of the house chilly. Wood-burning
fireplaces can suck more heat from your home than they put back in.
- Call a professional energy auditor. They use a blower door or infrared photography to pinpoint where your home is leaking
energy. Some utilities provide free audits; you can also find certified professionals in your area through www.resnet.us.
Posted: September 2008 — Consumer Reports Magazine issue: October 2008