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Trim Your Home Energy Costs Print E-mail

Trim Your Energy Expenses at Home

You can mitigate the rising costs of electricity and natural gas for heating your home by taking a few simple steps that save on your overall energy consumption.
According to the Edison Electric Institute, a Washington-based energy trade association, heating a home represents about 49% of the energy used in American homes. The other 51% is attributed to household appliances, lighting, water heating and air conditioning.
Appliances and lighting account for 28% of the typical household’s annual energy use. Water heating accounts for 16% of annual energy consumption while 7% is attributed to air conditioning use.
Here is a list of ways to cut usage-and costs-according to the Edison Electric Institute.


  • Replace a standard fiberglass air filter once per month. Clean electrostatic air filters once per month. Replace media air filters once per year for heating only and twice per year for heating / cooling systems.
  • Have the furnace blower motor and blower wheel professionally cleaned for optimum efficiency.
  • Use a setback thermostat and set the programs to lower the heating 5 to 8 degrees when you are not at home.
  • The use of a whole house humidifier will allow you to reduce the temperature 2 to 4 degrees without feeling a difference, thus reducing your energy bills.


  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. On average compact fluorescent bulbs us 66% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  • Keep light bulbs clean. Dust can reduce light output by as much as 25%.


  • Don’t let a preheated oven sit empty for any longer than necessary, and don’t open the door to check on food as each time you do you will lose 25% of the heat in the oven.
  • Whenever possible use your microwave oven instead of your standard oven. By doing this you will use almost 40% less energy and have your food cooked faster.
  • Keep the inside of your microwave over clean. By doing this your food will be cooked more efficiently.
  • Always use the smallest pans possible to cook your food. It takes considerably less energy to heat a small pan that it does a large pan.
  • Always use a lid when cooking food as a lid keeps the heat and steam in the pan or pot which cooks your food faster.
  • Try to use glass or ceramic pans in the oven whenever possible as they heat faster than most metal pans and pots.


  • Always try to wash and dry full loads and don’t over-dry your clothes.
  • Keep the dryer’s lint screen clean at all times.
  • Don’t add wet items to a drying cycle that has already been started.


  • Wash only full loads. It costs the same to wash a single dish as it does a full load.
  • Use the air-dry feature.
  • If washing dishes by hand, rinse them in groups rather that one at a time. Don’t leave the water running.


  • Check temperatures by putting one thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the fridge and another between packages in the freezer. Your losing money if the temperatures are below 37 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the main compartment and below 0 – 5 degrees in the freezer portion.
  • Cover and wrap your food. Uncovered foods and liquids release moisture into the air and increase the energy costs to maintain the temperature.
  • Let hot food cool before putting it into the fridge. This way the fridge or freezer will use less energy to cool it down.
  • A full freezer runs more efficiently than an empty one. If necessary fill up the space with plastic containers filled with water.
  • Unplug a second fridge that is not being used. That can save more that $130 per year in energy costs.


  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to about 120 degrees and you’ll cut your water heating costs by up to 18%. NOTE: If you have a dishwasher that is older and does not have a booster heater to increase the temperature of the wash water you will need to keep your water temperature set to 140 degrees to insure the water temperature is hot enough to kill the bacteria on the dishes.
  • Insulate you water heater with an insulation jacket. This can save up to 9% on water heating costs.
  • Drain the sediment from the bottom of your water heater every on to three years. This will not only save you on energy costs, it will extend the life of your water heater.
  • Install low-flow shower heads and faucets, which will use one-third to one-half less water. This can cut your water use and water heating costs by an average of 15% to 30%.
  • Take showers instead of baths as they use much less hot water.