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Energy Saving Tips

Keep More of Your Hard Earned Dollars

To make your home more energy efficient you must determine where you are using the most energy. In the average home, energy is used in the following way (click to enlarge photo):


Quick Tips to Save Energy

Interested in saving energy but not sure where to start? Try this list of 101 bright ideas for saving and conserving energy. Small changes can add up to make a big difference

The Top 10

Replace any light bulb, especially ones that are on more than one hour per day, with a light-emitting diode (LED) bulb.

Close shades and drapes during the day to help keep heat out in the summer.

Plug electronic devices such as cable boxes, printers and TVs into power strips to turn off during vacations or long periods without use.

Outside your home, caulk around all penetrations including telephone, electrical, cable, gas, water spigots, dryer vents, etc.

Change HVAC air filters monthly.

Use dishwasher’s air-dry cycle instead of the heat dry cycle to dry dishes.

Keep your garage door down. A warmer garage in winter and cooler garage in the summer will save energy.

Set water heater temperature no higher than 120 degrees.

Make sure dryer vent hose is not kinked or clogged.

Ensure refrigerator door seals are tight


Replace outdoor lighting with its equivalent outdoor-rated LED bulb. LEDs work well in cold weather.

Use fixtures with electronic ballasts and T-8, 32 watt fluorescent lamps

Use outdoor security lights with a photocell and/or a motion sensor.

Turn off unnecessary lighting


Turn computers and monitors off when not in use.

When buying a new computer, select an Energy Star model. Consider buying a laptop, which uses less energy than a comparable desktop.

Turn on large screen TVs off completely when not in use.

Check for energy- saving settings on a flat panel TVs like automatic brightness control and a power saving sleep mode.

Request an Energy Star set-top box from cable or satellite provider

Turn off stereos and radios when not in use.

Enable auto power down feature on game consoles.

If you don’t unplug them, use energy-saving modes or automatic sleep functions on electronics.

Remember to turn off hair irons.

Make sure electric blankets are turned off when leaving the home.

Ensure all new appliances, electronics, and lights are Energy-Star labeled.

Turn off pool pumps and heater when not needed.

Verify livestock water tank heaters are off when not needed.

Make sure heat tape is off when not needed.

Unplug battery chargers when not needed.


Turn off coffee makers when not in use.

Use refrigerator’s anti-sweat feature only if necessary.

Switch your refrigerator’s power-saver to “on”, if available.

Clean refrigerator coils annually.

If not frost free, regularly defrost refrigerator or freezer to avoid ice buildup.

Set the refrigerator temperature to 34-37 degree and freezer temperature to 0-5 degrees.

Unplug unused refrigerators or freezers. Recycle them if you don’t need them.

Use microwave for cooking when possible.

When cooking on the oven range, use pot lids to help food cook faster.

If you are heating water on the stove, use hot tap water instead of cold

Remember to use the kitchen exhaust fan when cooking. Turn it off after cooking.

Use a slow-cooker instead of simmering food on the stove

If rinsing dirty dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, do so with cold water.

Use cold water for garbage disposal

Only run dishwasher when fully loaded.

Water Heating

For households with 1 or 2 members, a 115 degree setting may work fine

Install a water heater wrap, also known as a water heater blanket, per manufacturer’s instructions.

Drain 1-2 gallons from bottom of water heater each year to reduce sediment build up.

Install heat traps on hot and cold water lines when it’s time to replace your water heater.

Insulate exposed hot water lines.

Limit shower length to 5-7 minutes

Install water saving shower heads

Fix dripping faucets

Don’t let the water run while you are shaving or brushing your teeth.


Wash clothes in cold water. Use hot water only for very dirty loads

Only do full loads of laundry

If you must do smaller loads, adjust the water level in the washing machine to match the load size, especially when using hot water

Always use cold-water rinse.

Use bath towels at least twice before washing them

Clean dryer’s lint trap before each load.

Make sure the dryer’s outdoor exhaust door is not blocked or clogged.

Verify dryer vent hoses tightly connected to the inside wall fitting

Check that dryer vent hose is tightly connected to dryer.

Minimize clothes drying time by using and auto moisture sensor, if available.

Dry consecutive loads to harvest heat remaining in dryer from last load

In hot weather, avoid running the dryer during the heat of the day.

Consider using a “solar-powered” clothes dryer: an old fashioned clothes line.

Heating I A/C

Set thermostats to 78 degrees in summer, 68 degrees in winter

Install a smart thermostat to save even more money.

Run ceiling paddle fans on medium, blowing down in summer and paddle fans on low, blowing up in the winter.

Turn off ceiling fans when leaving the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.

When installing new air filters, make sure they are facing in the correct direction (look for arrow on side of filter).

When heating or cooling, keep windows shut and locked

Insulate electric wall outlets and wall switches with foam pads.

Caulk along baseboards with a clear sealant

Caulk around plumbing penetrations that come through walls beneath bathroom and kitchen sinks

Caulk electrical wire penetrations at the top of the interior walls in the attic

Close shades and drapes at night to keep heat in during the winter.

Make sure drapes and shades are open during the day to catch free solar heat in winter.

Ensure attic access door closes tightly and is insulated.

Make sure insulation in your attic does not block soffit vents.

Do not close off unused rooms that are conditioned by forced air systems.

Do not close supply air registers

Check to be sure return air grilles are not blocked by furniture or bookcases.

Ensure windows and doors are properly weather-stripped and use door sweeps.

Make sure outside soffit vents are not blocked

Do not use roof-top power ventilators for attic exhaust as they may draw conditioned air from your home.

Have you HVAC system serviced once a year by a NATE- certified technician

Monitor your home’s relative humidity in the summer. If it consistently stays in the 60 percent range or higher, ask your HVAC technician about lowering your central air conditioning unit’s indoor fan speed.

Ensure window A/C/ units are weather-stripped. Remove the unit in the winter and close and lock the window.

Remove and clean window A/C filter monthly.

Keep “fresh-air” vents on window A/C units closed.

Use heavy-duty clear sheets of plastic sealed tightly on the inside of windows to reduce the amount of cold air entering your home during the winter.

Minimize use of electric space heaters, except for limited or temporary pot heating. Turn off space heaters when leaving the room.

Ensure your outdoor heat pump/ air conditioning unit is kept clean and free of debris.

When using a fireplace, turn down your heating system thermostat.

When using the fireplace, open the outside air vent (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly.

Keep fireplace dampers closed unless a fire is burning.

Ensure floor registers are not blocked with rugs, drapes or furniture.

Caulk around storm windows and basement windows.

Turn off bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans 15 minutes after the job is complete or install 15 minute timers on bathroom ventilator fans

Plant trees and shrubs to provide shade on the east, south and west sides of your home. Evergreen trees and shrubs can provide a windbreak on the north side. Be sure to call 811 before you dig.

Tip 102:

Contact Your Local Touchstone Energy Electric Cooperative.

Your Electric Cooperative offers energy audits and rebates on the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. For rebates visit our energy efficient rebates page, or our residential page for more information on our programs and services.


South River EMC has a host of online calculators to help you determine how much energy you use and how much money you can save by keeping energy efficiency top of mind.

Home Energy Advisor

Space Heater Calculator

Lighting Calculator

Appliance Calculator

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