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1. Heat Pump
Heating and cooling represent the greatest energy cost in most homes. Learn how
to heat and cool your home efficiently while keeping your family comfortable in
The United States Department of Energy’s
Consumer Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
can help you learn
how to avoid wasting energy and money.
Learn how to get the most out of your washer while saving water, electricity, and
- Wash full loads
- Use cold water. Most laundry detergents are made to work in cold water.
- Adjust the water level to the load you are washing. You don't need a full load of
water if you are only washing half a load of clothes.
- Look for the
Energy Star® label when buying a new washer.
Efficient Use of Your Clothes Dryer
- Use the moisture sensor option on your dryer. It automatically shuts off the machine
when the clothes are dry.
- Group similar types of fabrics together before drying them. For example, put towels
together in one load. A lower dryer temperature may be used for certain clothes.
See the owner's manual from the dryer for more information.
- Be sure to clean the lint from the dryer's filter after every load. The efficiency
of the dryer goes down when lint collects over the dryer filter.
- Operate the dryer like the washer: don't overload it. Overloading uses excess energy
because the items take longer to dry.
- Using your clothes dryer during off-peak hours will save money if you subscribe
to a residential time-of-use rate. See your local electric utility for details.
Efficient Refrigeration Saves You Money
- Look for a refrigerator with automatic moisture control. Models with this feature
have been engineered to prevent moisture accumulation on the cabinet exterior without
the addition of a heater. This is not the same thing as an "anti-sweat" heater.
Models with an anti-sweat heater will consume 5% to 10% more energy than models
without this feature.
- Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37
to 40 degrees F for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5 degrees
F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage,
it should be kept at 0 degrees F.
- To check refrigerator temperature, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of
water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. To check the freezer
temperature, place a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.
- Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers; frost buildup decreases
the energy efficiency of the unit. Don't allow frost to build up more than one quarter
of an inch.
- Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door
over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator.
If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the
seal may need replacing, or you might consider buying a new unit.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release
moisture and make the compressor work harder.
- Move your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils once a year
unless you have a no-clean condenser model. Your refrigerator will use less energy
with clean coils.
- Long-Term Savings Tip: Look for the Energy
Star® label when buying a new refrigerator. Select a new refrigerator that is
the right size for your household. Top freezer models are more energy efficient
than side-by-side models. Features like ice makers and water dispensers, while convenient,
will increase energy use.
Range and Oven Efficiency
- Use tight-fitting covers on pots and pans to increase efficiency and shorten cooking
time. Cooking pasta with a lid on the pot will use one third as much energy as without.
- Turn off the range just before food is ready. The residual heat will finish the
- Use pressure cooking, stir frying or steaming to shorten cooking times. Once brought
to a boil, turn down the burner under the pot to the lowest setting at which it
- Use microwave or toaster ovens for cooking food or warming leftovers. They can save
up to 30% of the energy required to cook or reheat food in a conventional oven.
- Don't peek! The temperature drops 25 to 30 degrees F each time the door is opened.
- Use the oven as little as possible in the heat of summer. The waste heat makes the
house more uncomfortable and increases air conditioning loads. Outdoor cooking may
be a good idea.
- If you have a self-cleaning oven, use this feature sparingly. It uses 20% more energy
per cooking cycle.
Using Your Dishwasher Efficiently
- Use the no-heat, air-dry feature on your dishwasher. This will save over half of
the energy used. With older dishwashers, open and air-dry after the final rinse.
- Be sure the dishwasher is full, but don't overload it.
- Scrape, don't rinse, the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
- When shopping for a dishwasher, look for the Energy
Star® label to find one that uses less water and 25% less energy than required
by federal standards.
7. Ceiling Fan
Ceiling Fans with forward and reverse circulation are great air controllers. A ceiling
fan can direct cooler air down from the ceiling into your living area during the
summer months, increasing your comfort level. During the winter months, reversing
the direction of your ceiling fan will cause the warmer top air in the room to move
across the ceiling, down the walls and into the lower living area. This will allow
you to increase your thermostat settings during the warmer months and decrease your
heating temperature settings during the colder months thereby saving valuable energy
Star for tips on how to buy and use a ceiling fan.
Save Money With a Programmable Thermostat
What is a programmable thermostat?
A programmable thermostat automatically changes the temperature in your home at
preset times during the day. For example, you can program your furnace or heat pump
to reduce the temperature from 70 degrees to 65 degrees while you sleep, come back
on 30 minutes before you get up so the house is warm while you are getting ready
for work, return to 65 degrees while you are at work, then raise the temperature
back to 70 degrees before you arrive home.
How much do they cost?
A good programmable thermostat costs between $50 and $150, depending on the features.
Can I install it myself?
Installing a programmable thermostat is not difficult. (Make sure you turn the circuit
breaker off.) Most come with clear installation instructions but, if you are not
comfortable installing one, a heating and air conditioning professional can do the
job in a few minutes.
What should I consider when buying a programmable thermostat?
- Make sure the thermostat is designed for heating and air conditioning
- If you have a heat pump, look for a thermostat that is compatible with a heat pump
- Consider the following features when buying:
- A battery
back-up so the programming won't be lost in case of a power outage
The ability to store and repeat multiple settings
on the inside cover
Doesn't it take more energy than you would save to raise or lower the temperature
in the house?
No. You save fuel between the time the temperature stabilizes and the next time
heating or cooling is needed. The longer time the furnace, air conditioner, or heat
pump stays off, the more money you save. (Source:
U. S. Department of Energy
Increase the comfort of your home and reduce your heating and cooling bills by making
sure you have sufficient insulation in your attic, walls, and crawl spaces.
The United States Department of Energy’s
Consumer Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
shows you how to
avoid wasting money and energy by making sure your home has the right level of insulation.
Inefficient windows cost you heating and cooling money. Learn how to save money
on energy efficient windows. You can make your home more comfortable and save money
by weatherstripping your windows.
For more information, visit the U. S. Department of Energy's
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
An exterior door can contribute significantly to air leakage in a home — as well
as some heat transfer — if it's old, not properly installed, and/or not properly
air sealed. This can result in energy losses.
For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Energy's
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Save Money With Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
If every household in the United States replaced just one incandescent light bulb
with an Energy Star®
qualified compact fluorescent
light bulb (CFL), it would remove enough pollution from the air to equal removing
one million cars from the road. (U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
Long Term Savings
The price of CFLs has dropped significantly in the last few years. While a traditional
incandescent light bulb may cost about $1.00 each, CFLs sell for between $5.00 and
$10.00. Energy-efficient bulbs may cost you more initially, but they save you money
in the long run by using one-third of the energy required by a conventional light
bulb to produce the same amount of light.
CFLs use 66 percent less energy than a standard, incandescent light bulb and last
up to ten times longer. A typical 100 watt incandescent bulb produces 1,600 lumens
(measure of light output) and burns around 1,000 hours. A 27 watt CFL produces 1,750
lumens and burns an average of 10,000 hours.
CFLs are Cooler
Incandescent bulbs put out a lot of heat. Typical surface temperatures can range
from 150 to more than 250 degrees. The heat introduced into your home by a regular
light bulb causes your air conditioner to run longer. CFLs operate at only about
100 degrees, reducing the demand for air conditioning in the summer and providing
a certain amount of safety from hot light bulbs.
The benefits of compact fluorescent bulbs are clear: lower operating costs, longer
operating life and more efficient use of energy. (Federal
Trade Commission - Facts for Consumers)
14. Tree by the House
We Floridians love our trees. From the live oaks in the Panhandle to the royal palms
of South Florida, our trees provide us with shade, fruit, and beauty. We also like
reliable electric and telephone service, but sometimes our beloved trees may interfere
with the lines that provide us with the utility services that are so necessary to
modern life. Maintaining the balance between healthy, attractive trees and reliable
utility service is the cooperative duty of both the property owner and the utility
Property Owner's Responsibilities
Proper tree selection is the first step in ensuring that conflicts between vegetation
and utility lines are minimized. Do some research before you plant a tree. Find
out how tall the tree will be when it matures and how widespread its branches will
be. Be sure that the tree will not grow into the lines and require pruning that
may compromise the health or beauty of the tree.
A good place to start your research is at the Web site of the
International Society of Arboriculture
which has a brochure entitled
Avoiding Tree & Utility Conflicts
you can download. The
National Arbor Day Foundation
also has information on its Web site
about planting the right tree in the right place.
Utility Company's Responsibilities
One of the ways that utility companies attempt to provide safe, reliable service
is by trimming vegetation that has grown, or is about to grow, into its lines. Florida
Public Service Commission rules do not specify to what extent that this trimming
must be done. It is the company's responsibility to establish a vegetation control
program that ensures safe, reliable service.
Most utilities have adopted pruning techniques developed by the
Tree Care Industry Association
and approved by the
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
. These techniques focus
on removing intruding branches at the point where the branch would be naturally
The Time To Act Is Now
Don't wait for hurricane season to take stock of your trees. Start now, before the
storms of summer come.
- Toilets can account for almost 30 percent of indoor water use.
- Replace older toilets with low-flow toilets which use only 1.6 gallons per flush.
This will save on both water and wastewater charges.
- Fill a half-gallon plastic jug with water and place it in the tank of an older toilet.
This will reduce the amount of water used per flush.
- Don't use the toilet as a trashcan or ashtray.
- Check for leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the
food coloring shows up in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.
- Showers use substantially less water than baths.
- Replace older shower heads with water-efficient heads.
- Install an aerator on all faucets.
- Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Fix a leaky faucet as soon as it starts. A leaky faucet can waste hundreds of gallons
of water in a very short time.
- Turn off the water after wetting your tooth brush.
After you wet your toothbrush and fill a glass with water for rinsing, turn off
the tap water while brushing.
- Rinse your razor in the sink.
Before shaving, partially fill the sink with warm water. While shaving, use the
water in the sink to rinse the blade rather than running water.
- Don't let the faucet run while cleaning vegetables.
You can serve the same purpose by putting a stopper in the sink and filling the
sink with clean water. If you want to clean your vegetables with running water do
it as a final rinse, which will require less water.
- Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets, and couplings.
Leaks outside the house may not be as obvious since they don't mess up the floors
or drive you crazy at night, but they can be very wasteful. If a faucet leaks one
cup of water every hour, over 500 gallons of water will be wasted in a year.
- Install aerators on all faucets.
If an aerator is already installed on your faucet, the rated flow which should read
2.75 gpm (gallons per minute) or lower, will be imprinted on the side. If the rated
flow is over 2.75 gpm replace the aerator with a lower rated one. If there is no
aerator on your faucet and you want to install one, check to see if there are threads
just inside the tip of the faucet. Most modern faucets are threaded to accept aerators.
18. Bathroom Vent Fan
A bathroom vent fan improves the atmosphere in a bathroom by pulling out moisture,
odors, and heat.
For more information, visit the
19. Water Heater
Water heating is one of the largest energy users in your home. Learn ways to reduce
your water heating expenses.
For more information, visit
20. Solar Panel
Florida is the Sunshine State. See how solar energy fits into Florida's Energy Plan.
For more information, visit the Florida Solar Energy
According to the EPA, about $40 billion is spent annually in the US to air-condition
buildings – one-sixth of all electricity generated in a year! ENERGY STAR qualified
roof products reduce the amount of air conditioning needed in buildings, and can
reduce energy bills by up to 50%.
A reflective roof can reduce peak cooling demand by 10-15 percent. As a result,
the home or building owner may be able to purchase a smaller, more efficient, and
less-expensive cooling system.
Reduced energy demand means less burning of fossil fuels, which results in less
pollution from power plants. Also, ENERGY STAR qualified roof products help to reduce
the “heat island effect” in which dark, heat-absorbing buildings and paved areas
make the air in urban areas hotter, and more smoggy.
qualified roof products maintain a more constant temperature and reduce thermal
shock, which occurs when cool rain hits a hot roof, causing a sharp drop in temperature.
During temperature changes, a roof expands and contracts, causing stress and degrading
22. House Energy Calculator
Find calculators to help you evaluate your home's energy use and need for energy-efficient improvements at
the U. S. Department of Energy's Energy Calculators and Software