Saving energy makes good sense.
It lowers your utility bills, helping you keep more dollars and cents in your pocket, and it's good for the environment, too.
This section of our site is dedicated to helping you save electricity and money. In addition to the tips below, be sure to check out the other pages listed under the "Energy Tips" menu.
To learn more about how much electricity is used by common home appliances and how much cost that translates into for you, check out our Energy Costs Brochure, near the bottom of this page.
Did you know that as much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling? Making smart decisions about your home's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills as well as your comfort.
Home cooling tips
Make sure your HVAC system's air filter is clean. Change the filter every 3 months, or sooner if it looks dirty. A dirty filter slows air flow and makes the system work harder to keep you cool, wasting energy.
Set your thermostat to the highest possible comfortable temperature. 78° F is ideal, if you can. But even a few degrees higher can result in savings on your bill.
A programmable thermostat that can adjust the temperature up while you are away from home and cool it down when you will return is a great way to lower your energy usage and cost... the thermostat will likely pay for itself in a single summer.
Utilize fans. Ceiling fans use less power than air conditioners, and can make a room feel a few degrees cooler, making it easier to bump that thermostat up a little more.
Close window shades and curtains during the day to keep the sun and heat out.
Avoid indoor tasks that generate heat during hot afternoons. Run the clothes dryer and dishwasher later in the evening or early in the morning instead. Cook outside, or use small appliances to cook indoors instead of the stove or oven.
A window A/C unit should fit snugly in the window to keep outdoor air from getting in, and should be on a separate electric circuit.
If you are considering purchasing a new room air conditioner, look for an Energy Star rated unit, which will use at least 10 percent less electricity than a standard one. Check into the new Mini-Split Heat Pumps, which are easy to install and do a great job of cooling (or heating) a room. And don't forget that we have a rebate available for mini-split systems.
Cover the outside portion of window air conditioners with a tight-fitting cover before winter, to keep heated air inside your home from leaking out.
If your windows are old or drafty, replace them with new Energy Star rated windows to save electricity and improve your comfort.
Home heating tips
Check your HVAC system's air filter every month, especially during winter. Change the filter every 3 months, or sooner if it looks dirty. A dirty filter slows air flow and makes the system work harder to keep you warm, wasting energy. A clean filter prevents dust and dirt from accumulating in the system, preventing expensive early system failure.
Have a professional HVAC technician check and tune-up your HVAC equipment yearly for improved comfort and efficiency.
Install a programmable thermostat. Set it so the heat will not run as often when you are regularly away from home, and to warm up around the time you return. Save up to $180 each year.
Seal your heating and cooling ducts to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system by as much as 20 percent, perhaps more. Seal ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unfinished basement, or garage with duct sealant metal-backed tape, covering all seams and connections, then wrap the ducts in insulation.
Consider replacing your furnace with a dual-fuel heat pump system.
The average household can spend $400-$600 per year heating water; that makes heating water second only to heating and cooling your home in terms of the energy and expense required. Trim your electric bill and keep your water nice and warm with the tips below.
Newer water heaters (especially Energy Star rated ones) offer significant improvements in efficiency and performance, allowing you to cut your water heating costs by as much as half. Consider replacing your water heater if it is more than 10 to 15 years old.
Adjust your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees F or lower. A water heater set too high at 140 degrees F can waste more than $400 annually.
Wrap your water heater with an insulating jacket; you could save more than $30 per year in excess heat loss.
Wrap insulating tape around the hot water pipe which leaves your water heater; you'll save energy and your hot water won't cool off as quickly between the heater and the faucet.
Turn off or turn down the temperature on your water heater when you will be away for an extended time. See more water heating tips.
After heating and cooling the home and heating water, use of major appliances is the next largest portion of the energy used in most homes. Reduce the energy used by your appliances and save money by implementing the following practices.
Wash your laundry with cold water instead of warm or hot; cold water detergents are available to help get your clothes just as clean. You can save as much as $40 per year by washing in cold water. Wash full loads, or reduce the level of water accordingly for smaller loads, to save hundreds of gallons of water per year. See more clothes washing tips.
If your dryer has a moisture sensor that will automatically turn the machine off when clothes are dry, use it to avoid over drying and wasting electricity. Be sure to clean the lint filter before every load to keep your dryer running efficiently. See more clothes drying tips.
Use a microwave or toaster oven to reheat leftovers or cook small meals. You'll use less electricity than using your stove or oven.
When cooking on the stove, use a pot which matches the size of the burner. A small pan on a large burner wastes much of the burner's heat. Cover help to keep heat in and keeps your kitchen cooler in summer.
Clean the burners on a gas range regularly to improve efficiency. If flames are yellow instead of blue, it's past time to clean the burners.
Set your refrigerator at 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and allow room behind the refrigerator for air to circulate. Keep the condenser coils clean (see the owner's manual). Check that the seals around the door close tightly, and if not, replace them. And of course, don't keep the door open any longer than necessary. See more refrigeration tips.
One of the easiest ways to save energy and money is to upgrade your home's lighting... if you can change a light bulb, you can start saving energy right away.
Fact: If every American home replaced the bulbs in its 5 most frequently used light fixtures with ones that are Energy Star rated, the savings would approach $9 billion each year in energy costs, and greenhouse gases emissions would be reduced by the equivalent of nearly 10 million cars (note: this is based on the replacement of 9 bulbs in 5 high-use fixtures per home).
To maximize your savings on lighting your home or business, be sure to check out additional lighting tips.