Reduce your energy use with these simple tips from Duke Energy.
1. Change the air filter
A dirty filter makes your heating system work harder, which uses more energy. Simply replace your filter every few months or opt for a washable one – they can last up to five years. Changing your filters also can cut down on dust around the house.
2. Maintain your heating and air conditioning system
You probably change the oil in your car more than once a year. You should also properly maintain your heating and cooling system with regular service calls from a licensed technician. Like air filters, dirty coils and fans reduce airflow through your heating and cooling system. Annual or semi-annual check-ups can improve your system’s efficiency and prevent costly repairs.
3. Strategically set the thermostat
In winter, set your thermostat to the lowest temperature that is comfortable to your family. You may save as much as 3 percent on your energy bill for each degree you lower your thermostat. Reduce your thermostat setting at night and when you are away. In summer, do the opposite.
4. Use ceiling fans
Ceiling fans are a great way to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In colder months, simply set the fans to operate in a clockwise direction. This will push warm air, which collects near the ceiling, down into the room. Shut off ceiling fans when you’re finished in a room. Doing so will add to your energy savings.
5. Wash with cold water
Ninety percent of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating the water. But most clothes don't require hot water to get a good cleaning, so think about using the cold water setting. Your regular detergent should work just fine, or you may want to try special detergents designed for cold water use.
6. Turn off the pre-rinse
As much as 80 percent of the energy your dishwasher uses goes to heat water. Try turning off the “pre-rinse” option in favor of rinsing your dishes before you load them in the dishwasher. You’ll save more money if you run the dishwasher only when it’s full.
7. Turn down TV brightness
Some newer TVs are automatically configured for "store" mode, which is a brighter, high-energy mode set by manufacturers before they’re shipped to stores. It's fine for attracting attention in a showroom, but may be unnecessarily bright for your living room. Try out the "home" setting for a better picture, longer TV life and energy savings of up to 30 percent.
“Energy vampires” loom in and around your home. Devices like your cell phone charger, gaming system and power strips use energy – even when you’re not using them. Think about unplugging electronics you don’t use every day. Then try to change the way you use other equipment. For instance, turn on your computer printer only when you need it.