20 Tips to Reduce Your Home’s Energy Use

Anywhere energy is used, there is an opportunity to be more efficient. These simple steps will help you save money, reduce energy use, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Below are 20 tips to help you understand how to use energy more efficiently.

Heating & Cooling

Conserving energy at home when heating, cooling and water heating will save you money and decrease overall electricity demand. It also can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and decrease the use of water associated with power production. Check out a few tips for saving on your heating and cooling energy use at home:

  • Boiler/Furnace or Heat Pump
      • If your other household appliances allow, lower your water heater’s temperature dial to 120 degrees (some dishwasher cycles require higher temperatures). Every 10 degrees the temperature is lowered, you can expect to save up to 5% in energy costs.
      • When using small amounts of water, make sure to always put your faucet lever in the cold position – Putting it in the hot position draws hot water which will fire up your hot water heater – even though hot water may not reach the faucet
      •  Shower, when possible, instead of taking a bath to reduce your hot water consumption. Taking a shower means your hot water heater will only have to heat 10-25 gallons of water vs a bath that can use up to 70 gallons.
      •  Replace your electric water heater with a heat pump water heater that uses electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating its own – making it two to three times more efficient. See Rebate
  • Boiler/Furnace or Heat Pump
      • Ensure your boiler/furnace or heat pump receives professional maintenance each year. Professional yearly maintenance helps improve efficiency, comfort, and the life of your unit. Saving you money in the long run.
      • Replace the filter on your furnace every two months. A dirty filter can make your system work harder, requiring more energy and increasing your energy cost.
  • Thermostats
      • Install a programmable thermostat that can help you track energy usage and can be operated remotely. Turn A/C or heat on and off based on your schedule and keep your home comfortable and energy efficient. Complete control over your home’s temperature at the click of a button can help save money and energy. See Rebate
  • Heating Ducts
      • Insulate heating ducts in unheated areas. Uninsulated ducts can leak air into spaces you don’t want to heat, such as attics and crawlspaces. This can waste energy and raise your heating bills.
      • Keeping ducts in good working condition can prevent up to 60% heat loss at air registers and save you money.
  • Air Intake Vents
      • Maintain your air intake vents regularly. Vacuuming removes dust buildup that prevents vents from operating at maximum efficiency, requiring more energy.
      • Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.
  • Energy Audits
      • Need help identifying and addressing efficiency issues in your home? Hire a skilled technician to perform a whole house energy audit.
      • Visit NHSaves.com to learn about energy audits and ways to improve your home’s comfort and efficiency.
  • Other
      • During the warmer months, close curtains during the day to avoid bringing unwanted heat into your home.
      • In the colder months, open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day. Opening curtains allows sunlight to heat your home naturally.

Electronics

Electronic devices are more energy-efficient than ever before, but there are still opportunities to save. Even when not in use or powered off, the equipment often consumes a small amount of electricity, called “vampire power.” While each device uses only a small amount of energy, the more you have, the more energy you consume. Here are a few ways to cut the energy use of the electronic devices in your home:

  • Power Strips
      • Use an advanced power strip which uses advanced technology to automatically cut power from selected outlets when the master outlet is not in use – for instance when your tv is turned off and plugged into the “master outlet”, it will cut power to all associated sub outlets located on the strip.
      • Standard Power strips can also be beneficial as it serves as a central “turn-off” point when you are done using electronic equipment however you will have to manually turn these off. All you need to do is turn off the power strip to shut down all the connected electronics at once.
  • Ditch the Screen Saver
      • According to ENERGY STAR®, screen savers don’t really save energy. In fact, graphics-intensive screen savers can cause the computer to burn MORE energy and can prevent a computer from entering sleep mode.
      • Instead of using a screen saver when your computer monitor is not active, let it switch to sleep mode or turn the monitor off to consume less energy.
  • Shop Smart
      • If needed, replace worn equipment with ENERGY STAR certified computers that use 25-40% less energy than computers without this designation.
      • Consider a laptop, which uses much less energy than a desktop computer.
  • Digital Media Player
      • Streaming a show? Use a digital media player. Media players, such as ROKU or Apple TV, use a fraction of the energy than game consoles use.
  • Chargers
      • Unplug cell phone chargers when charging is complete & not connected to a device.

Appliances

We all have several appliances in our homes, including clothes washers/dryers, dishwashers, microwaves, ovens/stoves, and refrigerators. But some use more energy than others, and there are steps you can take to maximize energy savings from your appliances.

  • Refrigerator
      • Clean your refrigerator coils to improve the efficiency of your fridge. Dirt and dust build-up can increase energy usage and prompt appliance failure.
      • Allow air circulation behind the fridge by leaving a few inches between the wall and refrigerator.
      • Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight by performing the dollar bill test. Place a dollar bill so that it is half in and half out of the refrigerator and close the doors – if you can move the dollar bill about easily you may need to adjust the latch, replace the seal, or consider buying a new unit.
      • Appliances manufactured before 1990 can use three to four times more electricity than newer models. Be sure to recycle your old model responsibly through NHSaves’ Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling program.
      • If your refrigerator needs to be replaced, consider an ENERGY STAR certified model that helps you save more than $220 over the 12-year lifetime of the product. See Rebate
  • Oven and Cook Top
      • Cover pots when boiling to prevent the release of heat. This can speed up cooking time and minimize the amount of energy used.
      • Open the oven only when necessary. When opened, the temperature inside is reduced by up to 25% and cook time is increased – using more energy.
  • Clothes Washer
      • When possible, wash clothes in cold water. Over 90% of a washing machine’s energy is used to heat the water.
      • Always use high-efficiency detergent in front load washing machines. Regular detergent will create too many suds which can impact the machines washing and rinsing performance and lead to potential odors and mechanical problems.
      • Leave the door open for 1-2 hours after use to allow for the water to evaporate and reduce the risk of mold developing from trapped moisture.
      • Should you need to replace your unit, consider an ENERGY STAR certified model that uses new water-limiting technology to clean your clothes thoroughly and without waste – saving you money on related energy and water costs. See Rebate
  • Clothes Dryer
      • Regularly clean the lint screen and dryer duct of your unit to improve its efficiency and cut down on drying time.
      • Scrub the lint filter with a toothbrush once a month if you use dryer sheets as they can leave a film on the filter that reduces air flow. Over time, this can make the motor work harder. Consult your owner’s manual before maintenance.
      • When possible, use a drying rack or hang clothes outside.
      • Considering replacing your clothes dryer? ENERGY STAR certified models use about 20% less energy than conventional models without sacrificing features or performance. See Rebate

Lighting

Lighting is an easy and cost-effective way to get started on saving energy. The more wisely you use lighting, the less energy you consume and less money you spend on your electric bill. Here are a few tips for decreasing your lighting consumption:

  • Automated Timers or Dimmers
      • Dimmers allow you to modulate the brightness of a lighting source by reducing the flow of electricity to the bulb so lights can operate with lower power outputs, thus saving energy.
      • Dimming outdoor lighting is also a boon to nature. Bright outside lights add to light pollution, which, according to the International Dark Sky Association, wastes money and energy, disrupts wildlife, impacts human health, contributes to climate change, and blocks our view of the night sky.
  • Shop Smart
      • Should you need to replace lights around your chose, choose ENERGY STAR certified LED lighting. LED bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR designation meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They use less energy, deliver high quality, and help protect the environment.
  • Task Lighting
      • A plug-in floor or desk lamp consumes less energy than overhead lighting.
  • Other
      • Take advantage of a light-colored wall and use it as a reflective surface. Placing lamps in room corners will allow the light to be reflected. The result will be a brighter room with the need for fewer lights.

Now that you’ve learned all these great tips for saving money and reducing energy use, share them with friends and family! Even small steps help create a more sustainable future.

 

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