Lowering Your Electric Bill

Appliances account for about 33 percent of energy use in an average home. You can save money by using appliances more efficiently and knowing what to look for when purchasing new appliances.

When shopping, keep in mind that every appliance has two price tags – the purchase price and the operating cost. You’ll be paying on that second price tag every month with your electric bill for the next 5 to 20 years, depending on how long the appliance lasts.

Here are some simple energy efficiency tips to help you start saving.

Refrigerator/Freezer

  • Keep coils and condenser area free of dust.
  • Keep the refrigerator compartment between 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit, and the freezer compartment between 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If possible, locate refrigerators and freezers away from direct sunlight and other warm air sources such as ranges and heating equipment.
  • Consider purchasing a refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR label, which will use at least 20 percent less energy.

 

Washer/Dryer

  • About 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer is for heating the water. Wash with less water and use cooler water.
  • Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
  • Don’t overload the dryer or over-dry your clothes.
  • Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked.

 

Dishwasher

  • Run your dishwasher with a full load, but not overloaded.
  • Consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR dishwasher. It will use less water and at least 41 percent less energy.

 

Electronics

  • Turn off personal computers, monitors, copiers, printers and fax machines when not in use.
  • There is a common misconception that screen savers reduce energy use, but they do not. The best energy-saving strategy is automatic switching to sleep mode or manually turning monitors off.
  • Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade. They use much less energy than desktop computers.

 

Light Fixtures

  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label on all light fixtures.  If your highest-use fixtures are not ENERGY STAR qualified fixtures, consider replacing them.
  • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) come in many shapes and sizes to replace incandescent light bulbs. CFLs last longer and use up to 75 percent less energy than standard light bulbs.

 

Light Switches

  • Three-way snap switches make it easier to turn off lights in unused areas.
  • Photocells respond to natural light levels and switch outdoor lights on at dusk and off at dawn.
  • Mechanical or electronic timers automatically turn on and off indoor or outdoor lights.
  • Occupancy sensors activate lights when a person is in the area and then turn off the lights after the person has left the area.