Energy Saving Checklists
Committed to saving energy? Use these handy checklists.
Block drafts. Check caulking and weather stripping around windows and doors. If you see cracks, light, or feel a draft, make repairs where needed. An 1/8" gap around a door is equivalent to a softball-sized hole in the wall. In the winter, install window plastic, rope caulk, and door sweeps to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
Seal leaks. Ductwork exposed to outside air or in unconditioned spaces should be wrapped securely with insulation; joints and connections should be sealed with insulation tape.
Use baseboard and space heaters properly. With baseboard and wall heaters, practice “zone heating” by turning heat down in unoccupied rooms. Shut doors to unoccupied rooms, too. Only use space heaters in occupied rooms and for supplemental heat. Continuous use of just one small 1500-watt heater can cost over $100.
Close fireplace damper. When not in use, close fireplace dampers to prevent 25% of the heat in your home from escaping out the chimney.
Check furnace filter. Check filters at least once a month; clean or replace them when dirty.
Bring in a professional. A qualified serviceman should check heating and cooling equipment at the beginning of each season to ensure efficient operation.
Use drapes or shade. Window coverings are one of the easiest ways to help insulate your house. Keep them closed on cold days and open on sunny days.
Use fans in the summer. Try using fans in the summer before switching on the air conditioning. Old A/C equipment can be equivalent to using 30 or more fans. If you must use your air conditioner, set it at 78° F; each degree over 78° in the summer will save you approximately 3% on your energy bill.
Program your thermostat. Adjust temperature settings according to a preset schedule. This way you can warm up or cool down your rooms when you know you’ll be awake or at home. Adjusting your thermostat by just three degrees can result in an approximate 10% energy savings. Consider a Wi-Fi enabled smart thermostat that learns your settings.
Keep showers short. Try to keep your shower to no longer than five minutes.
Adjust your temperature settings. Set your water heater at 120° F.
Replace washers on faucets that drip. A leaky faucet can waste 2,500 gallons of hot water per year at a rate of one drip per second.
Install a low-flow shower head. Choose one with no more than 1.5 gallons per minute to reduce your home water consumption and water heating cost by as much as 50%.
Turn it off. Turn off lights when you are not using them.
Make the switch. Change out all regular incandescent lamps with ENERGY STAR qualified LED bulbs if they are used more than two hours per day.
Keep bulbs clean. Dust can cut light output by as much as 25%.
Dispose of your used bulbs properly. Recycle your old CFLs at a participating recycling center near you.
Adjust the temperature. Set your refrigerator between 37 to 40° F and your freezer between 0 to 5°.
Keep the refrigerator door closed. Know what you want out of the refrigerator before you open the door. An open door is wasted energy.
Defrost freezer. Defrost when ice is ¼" thick.
Clean refrigerator coils. Keep coils clean to keep your refrigerator in peak operating condition. They may be behind or below the fridge.
Cover and wrap food. Uncovered foods and liquid release moisture, which makes the fridge work harder.
Fill it up. A full refrigerator or freezer uses less energy. Fill with jugs of water to take up space.
Range / Oven
Keep racks clear. Keep racks clear. It’s tempting to line oven racks with foil to keep things clean, but don’t do it. The hot air needs to be able to circulate to cook food efficiently.
Use lids. When cooking, lids keep heat and steam in and help food cook more quickly, which saves energy.
Clean the burner pans on your stove. When clean, burner pans will reflect heat back up to pots and pans.
Don’t peek. You lose heat every time you open the door or lift the lid.
Use the smallest pans possible. It takes less energy to heat smaller pans. Try to match the size of the pot or pan to the size of the burner and cover pots when cooking.
Fill it up. It costs exactly the same to wash one dish as it does to wash a full load of dishes.
Scrape dishes instead of pre-rinsing them. Dishwashers made in the past five to ten years can clean even heavily soiled dishes without pre-rinsing.
Use air-dry options. Keep your machine from using a heating element to bake your dishes dry and opt to air dry your dishes instead.
Select cold water. Hot water only needs to be used for very dirty loads.
Only run full loads. The machine uses about the same amount of water whether you wash a full load or just one item.
Hang it up. Instead of using the dryer, dry clothes outside in good weather—sunlight is free.
Clean the lint filter after every load. Clogged filters drive up drying time and costs.
Smaller is better. For small meals, utilize the microwave, toaster oven, electric pans or other kitchen gadgets to avoid heating up the whole oven for one toasted cheese sandwich.
Skip the oven. In warm weather, cook outdoors on a grill.
Shut off kitchen fans. While fans are great for removing smells from the kitchen, they also remove heat. Shut them off when you don’t need them.
Unplug it. Your toaster should only be plugged in when you are using it.
Family Room / Living Room / Office
Unplug it. Battery chargers or power adapters for devices like cell phones, eBooks and more may draw power even when they’re not in use—don’t let them.
Use power strips. Plug your video game consoles, stereo, DVD players and any other home electronics into a single power strip so you can switch it off and cut all power to items at once.
Try “smart” power strips. They can help reduce your power usage by shutting down power to products that are not in use or that go into standby mode.
Turn computers off. Sleep modes save energy, but it's better to use none. Turn off the monitor if you'll be away for 20 minutes or more, and turn off your computer if you'll be away for 2 hours or longer.
Hot tubs. Check the condition of your cover for escaping steam and use insulation blankets in the winter to keep the water nice and toasty.
Heated shops. Heated garages and outbuildings are easy to forget about in the winter and can contribute to a lot of extra energy use.
Heated driveways. Although these come in super handy in the winter, they too can contribute to a large increase in energy consumption.
RV use. Plugging an RV into your home’s electrical system can increase energy use dramatically, especially during the winter when its heating system works overtime to keep the unit warm.
Holidays. Extra house guests mean extra cooking, dishes, laundry and showers. This extra activity also means extra energy use. Be sure to use LEDs for any holiday lighting décor, as the energy used by just one regular bulb can power 140 LEDs. If you’re planning to be away from home for an extended period of time, lower your thermostat and water heater temperature to prevent unnecessary energy use.
School breaks. Having kids home during the day may mean that lights are on more often, additional electronics are plugged in or charging, and the thermostat is adjusted to maintain a comfortable temperature. All of these activities use more energy.