Complete List of Quick Energy-Saving Tips
Here is a much larger list of energy-saving tips to help you save money. You may also be interested in learning causes of high utility bills in the summer and in the winter.
All Year Round Quick Tips
- Insulate your attic. Insulation levels for Tallahassee:
R-38 if you have a heat pump or gas furnace.
R-49 if you heat with electric resistance "strips" only.
- Cook faster with a lid on the pan.
- Turn off the burner on electric range tops a little early. Allow cooking to finish as the burner cools.
- Chart your energy usage each month. Writing it down gets you thinking, changing habits and using less energy.
- Set your thermostat's fan to "AUTO," not "ON."
- Close your fireplace damper when not in use.
- Arrange items in your refrigerator for quick removal. The less the refrigerator door is open, the better.
- Use energy-saving settings on washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators.
- Use hot water wisely. Repair leaks. Hot water leaks increase your electric, water and sewer costs.
- If you're away for extended periods:
Turn off your water heater at the breaker panel.
Turn your AC / Heating Unit to "OFF."
- Turn off lights when not in use.
- Turn down water heater thermostats to 120° F.
- Use a clothesline. Dry clothes in the sun's free heat.
- Wash clothes in cold water. Almost all the cost of clothes washing is in the cost to heat water.
- Clean the clothes dryer lint screen frequently.
Also check and clean the outdoor flapper vent if necessary.
- Seal air leaks around doors and windows with caulk and weatherstripping.
- Keep all AC supply registers open. Closing off rooms or registers will not save money and may lead to problems.
- Repair air duct leaks in the attic or under the house.
- Change the AC filter monthly during heavy use. Dirty filters slow down airflow and make the unit run longer.
- Set the AC thermostat at 78° F or higher. Raise it a few degrees when away during the day. Setting the AC at 70° F instead of 78° F can double your operating cost!
Quick Summer Tips
- Don't try to speed-cool at a very low temperature when you get home. Standard single-speed air conditioners cool as fast as they can when on; they can't cool any faster. Choose your normal setting, preferably 78° F.
- Use fans in mild weather. A ceiling fan at medium speed uses 50 to 100 times less energy than your central AC.
- Set your thermostat a few degrees higher when running a ceiling fan. You will feel as cool at 80° F as you would at 78° F - but costs are reduced by about 15 - 25 percent.
- Use a microwave instead of the range or oven. The microwave cooks fast and doesn't heat the kitchen.
- Keep windows and doors closed while air conditioning.
- Close all shades, drapes and blinds during the day.
- Wear lightweight clothing, preferably cotton.
- Vent the clothes dryer to the outdoors. This prevents heat and moisture from getting into the house.
- Limit the use of the oven and cook outdoors.
- Plant trees for shade on the east and west sides of your home. This can reduce air conditioning costs by 30 percent.
- Use as few lights as needed. Lights put off heat. About 99 percent of a lamp's energy is converted to heat while the remaining 1 percent is converted to light.
- Switch to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). They provide the same amount of light for 1/4 the cost and 1/4 the heat output, while lasting 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
Quick Winter Tips
- Set your heating thermostat carefully and accurately. Recommended daytime indoor temperature in winter is 68° F. The night-time setting depends on the type of equipment you're using:
Heat pump: At night = 65° F
Furnaces: At night = 55° - 60° F
Electric-resistance heating: At night = 55° - 60° F
- Dress warmer and adjust the thermostat lower.
- Let the sun in! Open your shades, drapes or blinds to admit the sun's heat on cold days. Close them at night.
- If you have a heat pump, be sure the thermostat is not accidentally set to "EMERGENCY HEAT." Costs double in the Emergency Heat mode.
- If you have a heat pump, be sure the big outdoor fan spins when you're heating the house. If the outside fan doesn't spin when you're heating, you're probably heating with the system's backup electric "strips" at double the cost.
- If you return from work or school to a cold house, turn the heat up, but no higher than your usual thermostat setting. It doesn't heat any faster at a higher setting.