Appliances When purchasing ENERGY STAR® certified appliances, energy bills can be reduced by up to 30 percent. From appliances to electronics to windows and building supplies, the ENERGY STAR label is a guarantee that the products purchased are among the most energy efficient in their kind. Learn more at http://www.energystar.gov/. Before taking a trip during the winter, turn off and unplug everything you can and lower your thermostat to 55 degrees. When shopping for a new dehumidifier, look for an ENERGY STAR certified model to save more than $230 in energy costs over the life of the unit. Save water by scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before you load the dishwasher, and wash only full loads. Run your dishwasher after 7 p.m. to reduce heat gain in the summer. When shopping for a new dishwasher, look for an ENERGY STAR certified model. They use over 40 percent less energy than the federal minimum standard. Look for energy-saving features such as a built-in booster heater, an energy-saving wash cycle, and air-dry option. Use the air-dry setting instead of heat dry to cut energy use by up to 20 percent. Range/Oven Prepare several meals at one time and freeze them for later use. You’ll save energy and provide convenient, speedy meals. Use the right sized pan on stove burners to save about $36 a year on an electric range, or $18 for gas. A 6" pan on an 8" burner wastes more than 40 percent of the burner’s heat. Use pan lids to keep heat in and reduce cooking time. Microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers can use 75 percent less energy than a large electric oven, and they won’t heat your kitchen as much on hot summer days. Keep gas range burners clean to improve efficiency. Blue flames mean good combustion – yellow flames mean you may need service to ensure the gas is burning efficiently. Cook with aluminum or copper-bottomed pots and pans for even heat conduction. Pans with straight sides and flat bottoms reduce cooking time and heat loss. Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator or microwave before cooking them. Once a liquid begins to boil, lower the temperature and let the food simmer. A quick boil doesn’t cook food any faster than a slow boil. Keep reflector pans below burners clean and shiny to allow heat to be reflected onto the pan. You can lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit when baking with glass or ceramic dishes. If you are broiling, roasting or cooking a casserole, you do not usually need to preheat the oven. If you must, preheat no more than 10 minutes before baking. Rearrange oven shelves before preheating the oven. Rearranging shelves after the oven is preheated allows heat to escape and poses a potential burn hazard. Replace the oven door seal if heat leaks out. Avoid opening the oven door to check on food. The oven temperature is lowered up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit each time the door is opened. Clothes Washer/Dryer Select the water level to match the load size, or wash only full loads. Add detergent under spray as washer is filling to best circulate the detergent. Follow detergent instructions carefully. Oversudsing actually hampers effective washing action and may require more energy in the form of extra rinses. Use short cycles for lightly soiled and delicate clothes. Always push the timer in before changing cycles. This prevents arcing of timer contacts and timer failure. When shopping for a clothes washer, look for an ENERGY STAR certified model, which uses 30 percent less energy and 50 percent less water per load. Use cold water with cold-water detergents whenever possible to save more than $40 a year (electric water heater) or more than $30 a year (natural gas water heater). When you’re washing clothes, use energy-saving features such as the pre-soak, “suds saver,” and cold-water settings. Dry clothes in consecutive loads. Letting the machine cool down between loads wastes energy. Clean the lint filter after every dryer load. Ease ironing chores and conserve energy by removing clothes from the dryer as soon as possible after the cycle completes and before wrinkles have time to set. Clothes that are promptly folded or placed on hangers often need little or no ironing. Keep the outside exhaust vent of your clothes dryer clean. A clogged exhaust lengthens drying time. Don’t over-dry your clothes. Set your dryer’s moisture and humidity sensors to shut off the dryer automatically when clothes are dry. Refrigerators/Freezers Don’t block air circulation around the unit. Vacuum the condenser coils at least once a year. Dust-covered coils impair the efficiency of compressor operation and increase energy use. The coils generally are accessible on the back or bottom of the unit. Keep liquids in a refrigerator tightly covered. Evaporation may cause the refrigerator to work harder. Do not let frost build up more than one-fourth of an inch in a manual defrost freezer. Frost acts as an insulator, making the unit work harder. Replace door gaskets that don’t seal tightly. An easy way to test gaskets is to place a dollar bill against the frame and close the door on it. If the bill can be pulled out with a very gentle tug or, worse yet, drops out on its own, the door requires adjustment or the gasket needs to be replaced. Be sure the refrigerator is standing level so that the door seals properly. Use a level or a glass of water set on top to detect imbalance. Keep your refrigerator compartment between 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer compartment between 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping temperatures 10 degrees Fahrenheit lower than these can increase energy use by as much as 25 percent (about $48 per year). If possible, locate refrigerators and freezers away from direct sunlight and other warm air sources such as ranges and heating equipment. Don’t put refrigerators and freezers in a garage. They’re manufactured to operate in ambient temperatures (the same all year round), not temperature extremes. If your refrigerator was made before 1993, it uses twice the energy of newer models and could be increasing your electric bill by more than $100 every year. When shopping for a new refrigerator, look for an ENERGY STAR certified model.
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