At Home

Making Little Changes at Home, Starting Now.

About 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption occurs in residential and commercial buildings. There are many small steps you can take to reduce your energy use and make your home more comfortable.



  • FILL IT UP: Take milk jugs or other plastic containers. Fill with water and freeze outside. Place in your freezer to reduce the area to be kept cold.
  • DEFROST IT: The freezer should be defrosted if ice buildup is thicker than 1/4 inch.
  • PLACEMENT MATTERS: Fridge should not be near the stove, dishwasher, heat vents or exposed to direct sunlight. Check to be sure that air flow around your refrigerator is not obstructed.
  • SET IT: Keep your refrigerator at 37°-40°F and your freezer at 5° The freezer should be between 0 and 5 degrees F. Check refrigerator setting by placing a thermometer in a jar of water and leaving in refrigerator overnight.
  • FILL IT RIGHT: Don’t overcrowd to the point where doors cannot be closed or air cannot circulate. Do not put uncovered liquids in the refrigerator. Allow hot food to cool off before putting it in.
  • CHECK SEALS: Check your gaskets by placing a dollar bill against the frame and closing the fridge door. If the bill can be pulled out with a very gentle tug, replace the gasket.


  • USE LESS WATER: Match water level to the size of your load. Don’t fill the whole tub for a few items. Newer machines have automatic water level settings.
  • WASH COLD OR WARM: As much as 90 percent of the energy used by your washing machine is used to heat the water. Always cold rinse, use warm water for wash, only if necessary.
  • CLEAR LINT: Lint buildup greatly reduces efficiency.
  • DO MORE LOADS: Overloading the dryer lengthens drying time. Clothes should dry in 40 minutes to one hour.
  • CHOOSE COOL DOWN: Choose a “perma press” (cool-down) cycle. No heat is supplied in the last few minutes, but drying continues as cool air is blown through.

Air Conditioner

  • WATCH THE TEMP: Set your thermostat to 78°F, or as high as comfort allows. When the weather is mild, turn off the AC and open the windows.
  • CLOSE UP: Close your blinds and curtains during the hottest part of the day. Close cooling vents in unused rooms and keep doors to unused rooms closed.
  • CHECK FILTERS: Check and clean or replace air filters every season.
  • CLEAN IT: Clean the outside condenser coil once a month.
  • WEATHERSTRIP: Reduce your usage by 10-20 percent by caulking and weatherstripping your doors and windows.
  • DO THE MAINTENANCE: Schedule periodic maintenance of cooling equipment by a licensed service technician. Keep leaves and other debris off the condensing unit, and gently brush webs and dust from condensing coils. Ensure that airflow is not obstructed; allow 18″ open space clearance from the condenser.
  • Install a ceiling fan: Air circulation in the largest room of your house will allow you to lower the setting on your air conditioner 3 to 6 degrees, which will save up to 25 percent of the cost of cooling your home.


  • PUT LIDS ON: Develop the habit of “lids-on” cooking to permit using a lower temperature
  • MEASURE: Carefully measure water used for cooking to avoid having to heat more than is needed.
  • LOWER AS YOU GO: Begin cooking on highest heat. When the liquid begins to boil, lower the heat and allow food to simmer until fully cooked.
  • COOK TOGETHER: Cook as much of the meal in the oven at one time as Variations of 25°F still produce good results and save energy.
  • SELF-CLEAN SELECTIVELY: Use the self-cleaning cycle only for major cleaning jobs and start right after the oven has been used.
  • Use the burner which is the closest match to pot size. Heat is lost and energy is wasted if burner size is larger than pot size.
  • REDUCE PREHEATING: There is no need to preheat the oven for broiling or roasting—just baking.
  • KEEP IT CLOSED: Each time the door is opened, about 20 percent of the inside heat is lost. Make sure the oven door seal is tight.
  • LET THE OVEN WORK: Turn oven off a few minutes before food is ready, and let oven heat finish the job.
  • ZAP IT: Use the microwave whenever possible—it is the most energy-efficient way to cook or heat small amounts of food.


  • ADJUST THE WATER: Check the manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater to a lower temperature (120°F).
  • STOP THE RINSE: Avoid using the “rinse hold” on your dishwasher for just a few soiled dishes. It uses three to seven gallons of hot water each time you use it.
  • AIR DRY: Let your dishes air dry; if you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch on your dishwasher, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open