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How to Save Energy in Your Home

How to Save Energy in Your Home

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Decreasing your energy consumption at home will also minimize pollution (from burning fossil fuels) on a global scale and save you money on the household level. Best of all, most energy-saving methods are easy to implement and, when implemented, go a very long way.


  1. Fix the drafts. In an average house, up to 20 percent of heat is lost through drafts. To test an area, simply hold the palm of your hand up against a door or window. If you feel cold air coming through, warm air is escaping. This is simple to fix and can save you hundreds on your yearly heating bill.
    • Fit draft excluders around all exterior doors and interior if need.
    • Fill in any cracks or crevices on window frames, skirting boards or floors with a filler or sealant.
    • Close curtains or shutters after dark fall to trap in the warm air and prevent drafts.

  2. Turn down the thermostat. Turning your thermostat down by just 1 degree can reduce your energy consumption by over 5 percent. You won't even notice the difference in room temperature. On the same note, don't heat rooms when you are not using them.
  3. Decrease the hot water temperature. Your hot water thermostat needn't be higher than 60 degrees centigrade (140 degrees Fahrenheit). Any higher and you will only be mixing it with cold water to cool it back down for use. Give your boiler regular check ups, especially if you have had it for a few years.
  4. Turn off appliances and lighting. Turn off any appliances you are not using, especially by switching off lights when you leave the room. Don't leave fridge or freezer doors open for longer than necessary, and don't forget your freezer needs to be defrosted regularly for it to run efficiently. Don't use the "standby" function on you TV, stereo and DVD player. Unplug these appliances, as well as your microwave, when you are not going to be using them for over half a day. Appliances left on standby mode can draw an average of 5-10 percent of household energy use! And if you need light during the day, open the curtains. let the sun shine in and use it as light.
  5. Wash economically.
    • Only use the washing machine when you have collected a full load. If you must wash a partial load, use the economy or half load setting. Also, modern washers work just as effectively at 40 degrees as they do at 60, but the difference in temperature will make a difference in terms of energy used.
    • Tumble dryers use up a huge amount of energy. If possible, hang your clothes on a line instead. This is better for your clothes as well.
    • Washing economically doesn't just apply to your clothes. Taking a shower instead of a bath uses around 50 percent less energy.

  6. Insulate. Up to a third of your home heating escapes through the roof. Prevent this by insulating. Not only is it simple to do, but it's also the most cost efficient energy saving measure you can make. If you don't already have it, invest in cavity wall insulation. This will prevent another third of your heat escaping.
  7. Reuse water which comes out of the tap that would drain otherwise. When you turn up the hot water on a tap, put a container under the tap until the water is warm enough. Then use the water in the container to water plants or use for other purposes. This saves a surprising amount of water.Look for grants available to help make your home energy efficient. Saving energy is such a vital issue that grants are now becoming more readily available to help you make the necessary home improvements. In many parts of the world, energy suppliers, the government and your local council all offer help in paying for energy saving measures. Check out their websites or telephone a local official for further information.
  8. Use energy efficient appliances. From light bulbs to kitchen goods to home entertainment equipment - there are a plethora of energy efficient appliances now on the market. Amazingly, they can use 50 percent less than other models, and up to a quarter less for light bulbs. Have a look at the energy saving trusts website to see their product recommendations.
  9. Switch to eco-friendly energy. Many energy suppliers are now offering power from renewable sources rather than polluting fossil fuels. Do you research to find out which company in your area is offering green energy. It won't take long to fill out the paperwork but the consequences will last lifetimes.



  • Be attentive. You lead a unique lifestyle, which means there will be many unique ways you can save energy. For example, if you're a fanatic tea drinker, only boil as much water as you need in a kettle.
  • When you get mail that comes in a plastic bag, remove the mail by cutting the bag open and reusing the bag to hold things.
  • A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week loses enough hot water to fill half a bath, so fix leaking taps and make sure they're fully turned off.
  • Following these steps will not only save you hundreds in bills, but also help restore an equilibrium to your life and to the planet. Almost all of the energy supplied to our homes comes from burning fossil fuels. This releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to the greenhouse effect.
  • Take away 15 seconds when you microwave when possible.

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Simple ways to save

Clean the coils behind or underneath your refrigerator with a tapered appliance brush to keep it running efficiently.

Skip prerinsing dishes. Our tests have found that it¹s unnecessary, and you'll save up to 6,500 gallons of water per year.

Opt for the cold-water wash cycle and save about $60 a year.

Put your PC to sleep. Save $25 to $75 each year by using the system standby or hibernating feature on your computer.

Plug electronics into a power strip so that you can turn them all off at once.

Don't overload the dryer. Clothes will take longer to dry, and they'll come out wrinkled. When the weather is warm, line dry.

Open blinds and shades on cold days. Solar heat gain can raise interior temperature significantly. But close them at night to minimize heat loss.

Dust off the slow cooker. You'll use a lot less energy than cooking a meal across several burners and in the oven.
Keep car tires properly inflated. In our tests of a Toyota Camry, fuel efficiency dropped 1.3 mpg when the tires were deflated by 10 psi.
Clean or replace furnace filters monthly during the heating season. Clogged filters force the blower to work longer, raising your electric bills.

Insulate and seal cracks and gaps in your ducts. That can help reduce energy costs by 30 percent.
Lower water-heater temperature to 120 degrees from 130 and insulate hot-water pipes to knock up to 5 percent off your energy bills.
Weather-strip old windows and doors. It's the surest way to close the gaps around openings, reducing heating and cooling costs by 15 to 30 percent.
Control outdoor lights with sensors or timers so that fixtures stay off during the day.

Install a high-efficiency showerhead. It will reduce hot water use by up to 50 percent.

Upgrade to a low-flow toilet and save 4,000 gallons per year.

Move the thermostat to an inside wall away from windows and doors so that drafts don't cause the heating system to cycle on unnecessarily.

Add insulation. An estimated 80 percent of older homes are underinsulated. Properly insulating and sealing your home can cut your heating and cooling bills by 10 percent.

Plant a deciduous shade tree on the west and southwest sides of a house to save energy.

Zone heat smartly. A portable heater in a room saves money only if you're willing to keep the rest of the house chilly. Wood-burning fireplaces can suck more heat from your home than they put back in.

Call a professional energy auditor. They use a blower door or infrared photography to pinpoint where your home is leaking energy. Some utilities provide free audits; you can also find certified professionals in your area through

Posted: September 2008 — Consumer Reports Magazine issue: October 2008

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Anonymous said...

A spin dryer uses approximately 1/100th of the energy that a conventional
tumble dryer does. More information is available at

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