Use our free online Energy Tracker℠ tool to track your electricity use by hour, day or more. You can also get email or text alerts about your estimated bill or when it’s expected to exceed an amount you’ve set.
Practice thermostat control. Each degree you lower your thermostat in winter saves an estimated 2 percent on your heating bill. In winter, set it to 68 when you’re awake, 60 when asleep or gone. In summer, try 75 to 78 degrees to save on air conditioning. And remember, turning your thermostat higher or lower than needed doesn’t heat or cool a room faster, so avoid this energy wasting myth. See Heating & Cooling for more.
Wash smarter. Use the Energy Saver mode on your clothes washer and dishwasher. Wash laundry in cold water: It works. Run your dishwasher only when it’s full and let dishes air dry. Take quick showers instead of baths. Don’t let the hot water run when shaving or doing dishes.
Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees for savings and safety. See our Water Heaters section for details.
If you have baseboard heaters, wall heaters or room air conditioners, don’t heat or cool unused rooms. Close the door, but watch for mold or mildew in colder rooms. (If you have a ducted, forced-air system, it’s not a good idea to close off individual registers because it can make your system run less efficiently.)
Use window coverings to save energy. In summer, close drapes and blinds to block sunlight and reduce the need for cooling, and in colder months close drapes at night to stop heat loss. Insulated drapes and “honeycomb” style blinds are especially helpful.
Unplug energy “vampires” such as laptop and cell phone chargers as soon as you’re done using them. Otherwise, they suck energy even when not in use.
Turn off your computer and other home electronics when not in use. The default settings on most computers aren’t the most energy efficient. Adjust yours for efficiency, and visit ENERGY STAR® for more tips.
Consider a smart strip for your media center or computer area, where peripheral devices such as printers, task lights, DVD players and game consoles suck power even when turned off. More about energy “vampires” .
9. Close your fireplace damper and doors when not in use. After a fire, let the fireplace cool completely before closing the damper.
10. Turn off ventilation fans in kitchen and baths. They pull warmed or cooled air out of your house, so turn them off after about 10 minutes or install a timer to ensure you don’t accidentally leave them on.