At Home - Oceana USA

At Home

At Home

If you still use incandescent lights, switch them off whenever you’re not in the room.

– Only about 10 to 15 percent of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light; the rest is turned into heat. If you leave the room for more than 15 minutes, regardless of the type of lights you have, switch them off.

Use power strips to switch off appliances. Even when turned off, certain home appliances, such as televisions, home theater equipment and stereos, still use energy. Seventy-five percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is typically wasted during periods of inactivity.

During periods of inactivity, turn off computers at home and work and enable the sleep mode. Computers with activated sleep modes typically require 70 percent less electricity than those without.

Wash only full loads of dishes. Using short cycles for all but the dirtiest dishes. Each time you wash the dishes, you use 12 gallons of water.

– When washing your clothes, set the appropriate water level for the size of the load and use in cold water. 90 percent of your washer’s energy consumption comes from heating the water.

In summer, keep the shades drawn to keep the cool in. The U.S. Department of Energy says that sunny windows can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.

In winter, open the shades to allow sunlight to help warm rooms. Not only is sunlight brighter than many light bulbs, but it’s also free.

Clean or replace the air filter in your air conditioner. This will increase energy efficiency. A clean filter can lower your conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent.

Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 F. For each 10 F reduction in water temperature, you can save three to five percent in energy costs. Also, setting your heater to 120 F can help prevent mineral buildup and corrosion in your water pipes.

Set your refrigerator temperature at 37 to 40 F and your freezer between zero and five F. This will increase energy efficiency. Also, use the power save switch if your refrigerator has one and make sure the door seals tightly.

Set heat and cooling temperatures correctly. Turn off the thermostat when you are away from home. Air conditioners and heaters generally account for 45 percent of your utility bill and the U.S. emits 150 million tons of carbon dioxide every year because of heating and cooling. Using your equipment wisely can reduce your environmental emissions anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.

Install low-flow shower heads that use less water. You can save 25 to 60 percent on your water bill without decreasing performance.

Planting trees around your house can save you up to 25 percent on your cooling costs.

Also, an air conditioner working in the shade requires 10 percent less electricity than those in the sun.

Ask your utility company for a free home energy audit. The proper insulation and air sealing techniques they can provide could reduce your home’s heating and cooling costs up to 10 percent.

Ask whether your electric company sells energy from renewable resources like wind or solar. Solar energy could cut your energy costs by more than 50 percent. To find out if green power is available in your area, visit the Department of Energy’s Green Pricing Page.