Easy, Low-Cost Energy-Saving Tips

In spring

  • Window air conditioner. Seal around the unit so cool air cannot escape.
  • Central air conditioner. Hose off the outdoor condensing unit to remove dirt and leaves. Get professional service for your central air every two years. Choose a qualified contractor.
  • Furnace filter. Check every month; replace when dirty.
  • Dehumidifier. Vacuum dust and dirt from the coils and fan.
  • Lawn mower. Replace your gas-powered lawn mower with a nonpolluting manual or electric mower.
  • Air-dry laundry. Put up a clothesline for drying laundry outside to avoid heating the house with your clothes dryer.
  • Shade. Plant a deciduous shade tree to the south or west of your home to keep it cooler.
  • Check gutters and downspouts. Make sure they drain away from the house to reduce moisture around your home’s foundation.


  • Dry clothes on a clothesline instead of in a dryer.
  • Clean the clothes dryer lint trap after each load. Dry faster and save money.
  • Wash clothes in cold water. Save 10 to 20 cents per load.


  • Replace most frequently used incandescent bulbs and fixtures with ENERGY STAR® certified bulbs. Save two-thirds of lighting costs.
  • Use photo-eye and timer fixtures or timers on outdoor lights. Save energy.
  • Turn lights off when not in use—100 watts for 10 hours costs 13 cents.

Water heating

  • Set water heater at 120°F to 125°F. Save money and prevent scalding.
  • Install WaterSense® labeled showerheads. Save on water and heating costs.


  • Unplug second refrigerator or freezer if not needed. Save $5 to $15 per month.

In summer

  • Use shades and drapes to block out direct sun during the day.
  • Cook outside or with a microwave oven instead of a stove. Save money and improve comfort.
  • Use a whole house fan, room fans or ceiling fans instead of air-conditioning.
  • Set your thermostat to 78°F or higher, if health permits.
  • Set your thermostat to 85°F when no one is home. To control cooling times:
    • Use a programmable thermostat for central air. Save 20 to 60 cents per hour.
    • Use a timer for room air conditioners. Save 10 to 20 cents per hour.
  • Replace most frequently used incandescent bulbs and fixtures with ENERGY STAR® certified bulbs. Save two-thirds of lighting costs.
  • Unplug second refrigerator if not needed. Save $5 to $10 per month.
  • Turn off appliances including computers and televisions when not in use.
  • Use exhaust fans to remove moisture from showering and cooking.

In winter

  • Lower the thermostat at night and when you're away, if health permits (55°F lowest setting). Save 1% for every 1°F temperature decrease for an eight-hour setback. Check the owner's manual if turning down the temperature for more than 24 hours.
    Thermostat Setback [521 kB PDF]
  • Check furnace filter monthly and replace as needed to maintain furnace efficiency.
  • Seal around sewer vent pipe in basement and attic to keep in heated air.
  • Close fireplace damper after fire is out to stop drafts and save money.
  • Let the sun in during the day to reduce heating costs.
  • Close drapes and shades at night to save money and improve comfort.

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