An Energy Saving Strategy for Your Entire Home

Written by Anita Alvarez
Updated September 28, 2015
H.H. Gregg Samsung washing machine
Newer appliances, like washing machines and dishwashers, have specific energy-saving cycles that also limit water usage. (Photo by Frank Espich)

Learn how to save money and cut your utility bills with these simple household energy saving tips.

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Home energy savings are indeed possible, particularly if you pay attention to your household appliances and avoid common energy-saving myths. So roll up your sleeves, and take a look at these energy-saving steps recommended by the Department of Energy.

Who knows? This may be the year you finally log some dollars in the plus column, instead of making alarmingly high "contributions" to the utility company.

Water heater savings

Take a bite out of the 18 percent the average homeowner pays for water heating. Here's how to save on water-heating costs:

When replacing your water heater, invest in a high-efficiency system. Set the water heater to 120 degrees. (Most systems are pre-set to 140 degrees.) Wrap insulation around the first few feet of pipes that come in and out of the water heater. The insulation will reduce energy loss as hot water flows through the pipes.

Water conservation

You can save on water heating bills and water bills by adopting a less-is-more mindset. You can adjust your patterns of usage around the house, for example, by taking shorter showers, but it also helps to install low-flow showerheads and aerators throughout the home. These devices reduce the flow of water through them. When you turn on the hot water, the demand is less, reducing usage.

Here are a few other water saving tips:

• Run only full loads when using your dishwasher or clothes washer.

• Avoid using longer-running cycles on your appliances, which will use more water. Opt for shorter washing cycles, but be sure to test these cycles to see if they do as good a job cleaning the dishes as the appliance's "normal" cycle.

Kitchen money saving tips

Dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves — these are all appliances people use in the kitchen that can contribute to high energy bills — unless you know how to switch on the energy savings:

• Consult the dishwasher manual, and make sure it's set to the lowest temperature possible (which is generally around 120 degrees).

• Before loading the dishwasher, dry-scrape food off of the dishes, instead of running them under water. You'll save on water and you won't have to run the system as long to remove food buildup.

• Avoid using the dishwasher's soak or pre-rinse features.

• When you can, stop the dishwasher before it reaches the drying cycle, and open the door a bit instead to let dishes air dry.

• Use ideal refrigerator settings to lower energy consumption. The freezer should be kept at 0 degrees, while the ideal temperature for the fridge is between 37 and 40 degrees. If your fridge doesn't display the temperature, place a thermometer in the space to get an accurate reading.

• Keep an eye on the fridge door's seal. Leaks increase energy consumption.

• Use a properly sized pan on the stovetop.

• Opt for the toaster when heating food up or even cooking smaller food items. It uses less energy than the oven.

• Regularly clean the stovetop; the burners will work more efficiently when they're clean.

Laundry energy saving strategies

Keep energy costs down by following these strategies for laundry:

• Hang-dry clothing when you can.

• If you must wash or dry a small load, make sure the settings match the size of the load.

• Always remove lint from the lint trap after drying a load of laundry. A clean lint trap promotes optimal air circulation in the dryer, which will improve drying times.

• If the dryer has a cool-down feature, use it. This feature shuts off the heating element a few minutes before the cycle is expected to end, but the heat in the dryer will remain.

• Make sure the dryer vent is clear, and have a professional inspect and maintain it every year or two. Lint buildup in the dryer is a fire hazard, too.

With these tips for saving energy, you'll be set to keep more of your hard-earned dollars over the year, and every year thereafter. When your entire family adopts energy-savings strategies, you'll also get peace of mind, knowing you're contributing to a greener environment and conserving natural resources.

What energy saving strategies do you implement around the house? Tell us about them in our comments section below. 

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