Energy Saving Tips


  • Use a programmable thermostat with your heating system to automatically lower the temperature at night or when no one is home.

  • Keep the warm air in and the cold air out by adding insulation, caulking and weatherstipping around doors, attic access, windows, outlets and any area that can let the cold air in and the warm air out. Or, call a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor to assess your home's efficiency.

  • It's a good time to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace old batteries. Remember - as you seal up leaks in your home this becomes even more important.

  • Make sure floor and wall vents are not blocked by draperies, furniture, or rugs. Vents should also be cleaned regularly with a vacuum or broom.

  • Keep blinds and drapes of sun-exposed windows open in the daytime and closed at night.

  • When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed.

  • Have your heating system inspected by a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor. If you have a forced-air heating system, check your air filters once a month and replace if dirty.

  • Make sure outdoor portions of your heating system are not blocked by leaves, shrubbery, or other objects.

  • If you have a window air conditioning unit, remove it for the winter months to prevent heat from escaping through and around the unit. If it can't be removed, buy a cover to prevent drafts.

  • Install rubber gaskets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls. Gaskets can be found in most home improvement stores.

  • Ceiling fans can keep you comfortable in the winter too! Reversing the direction of the blades pushes warm air down in to the room.

  • Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees. For added savings, have your water heater wrapped with an insulation blanket by your Heating/Plumbing Contractor.

Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC)

  • Limit the use of portable space heaters and never leave them unattended.

  • Close off unused rooms in your home and close off the heat registers and seal the door.

  • Bleed the air out of your radiators twice a year to maintain efficiency.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

  • Check your heating and cooling system for safety and efficiency. You can tell a heating and cooling system isn’t functioning properly if the temperature from room to room is varying, if the house feels too hot or too cold, and if the air is stuffy or clammy.


  • Choose digital thermostats on heating and cooling systems to control temperatures more accurately.

  • Keep your boiler running smoothly by having it serviced by a BPI-certified Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor.

Central Air Conditioners

  • Use a programmable thermostat when possible.

  • Choose digital thermostats on heating and cooling systems to control temperatures more accurately.

  • Make sure you’re not covering your ducts with furniture, rugs, etc.

  • During the summer, keep all south-facing draperies closed during the day.

  • Change or clean your air filter based on the manufacturer’s recommendation. This will make sure the unit is operating efficiently so you will realize your maximum energy savings.


  • When you go shopping for a dehumidifier, look for the ENERGY STAR label.

  • Also look for the yellow EnergyGuide label to tell how energy efficient the product really is by comparing it with other dehumidifiers on the market.


  • Choose digital thermostats on your furnace.

  • Change your furnace filters every 2 months (or more often if you have pets) as they’ll help keep your furnace working efficiently for usually less than a dollar per filter.

  • Have your oil or gas fired furnace serviced regularly, typically once a year.

Room air conditioners

  • Set your air-conditioning thermostat at 78°F or higher during the summer season. Each degree above 75° saves you 3% of the energy used to cool your home.

  • Save money and increase your comfort by using a timer or programmable thermostat on your air conditioner.

  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label.

  • Place your air conditioner in a central window, rather than a corner window, to allow for better air movement.

  • Remove air conditioners in the fall or install a quality plastic cover.

  • Seal spaces around the air conditioner with caulking to prevent cool air from escaping.

  • Clean the cooling and condenser fans plus the coils to keep your air conditioner operating efficiently and check the filter every month and replace as needed.


  • Use your microwave oven as much as possible in the summer rather than your regular oven. You'll stay cooler and save energy.

  • When buying appliances, compare yellow EnergyGuide labels, not just prices, to make sure you buy an energy efficient unit.

  • The size of your pan should match the size of your burner for the highest efficiency.


  • To save even more energy, defer use until off-peak hours, after 6:30 pm and before 9:30 am.

  • Put full loads in the dishwasher and use the "energy saving" setting for the drying cycle, or let dishes air dry to reduce energy use.

Clothes Washers

  • Do your laundry during off-peak hours, after 6:30 p.m. and before 9:30 a.m., and hang your clothes outdoors in the summer.

  • When doing your laundry, use a cold water wash on full loads.

  • Clean the lint trap regularly to keep it running more efficiently and make sure the exhaust isn’t blocked.

  • Horizontal-axis clothes washers (front loaders) are far more gentle and effective on your clothes, and are much more energy efficient when compared to traditional clothes washers.


  • Defrost your refrigerator regularly so it can operate more efficiently, and do so only on weekends to avoid peak load.

  • Vacuum and clean the condenser coils, motor and evaporator pan of your refrigerator once or twice a year, and leave space between your refrigerator and the surrounding walls and cabinets to allow air to circulate around the coils.

  • Keep your refrigerator away from the stove and heat registers. By being next to those items, you’re making your refrigerator work twice as hard and decreasing its overall efficiency.

  • Test your refrigerator and freezer by placing a thermometer inside for an hour. The reading should be as follows:

    Refrigerator 36-38%
    Freezers 10-15%

  • Select a refrigerator/freezer with energy-saving features. It will use 20% less electricity than the standard model, saving you approximately $60 a year.

  • Avoid purchasing used refrigerators, as an older refrigerator often uses more than three times the energy of today’s models.

  • Make sure the seals on your refrigerator, freezer and oven doors fit tightly.



  • When you shut down your computer, don’t forget to turn off the monitor - it can use twice as much energy as the computer!

  • Use an advanced power strip for convenience; that way all of your computer accessories are turned off by one switch (even in sleep mode, your computer may cost you $105 a year).

  • Use the power management feature on your computer monitor; it will turn off the monitor when idle for over 15 minutes when you leave your computer on.

  • Consider a laptop computer over a traditional desktop – laptops use less energy.

Copiers, Fax Machines & Mailing Machines

  • Turn off electronics when they are not in use.

  • Consider a multifunction device, which combines printing, copying, faxing and scanning and look for the ENERGY STAR label to further increase energy savings.

  • Plug your copier, fax machine and mailing machine into an advanced power strip so that when you switch off your computer (or put it in sleep mode) all of the peripherals will also turn off.

Battery Charging Systems & External Power Adapters

  • Avoid leaving transformers and charging units for appliances and battery-operated devices on (such as cell phones and tools) when they aren’t being used.

  • Instead of just turning your electronics off it is better to unplug them because even when they’re “off” they still draw electricity from the outlet - something known as a “phantom load.”

  • Plug your battery charging system or power adapter into a power strip to enable you to shut off power with the flick of a switch. For even better control, use a power strip with a timer or a programmable power strip.

Cordless Phones

  • When buying a cordless phone, look for the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR phones use only about one-third the energy of standard cordless phones.

DVD Products, Home Audio & Combination Units

  • Don’t forget to turn off your DVD player, video game console and television.

  • Plug your DVD and home audio products into an advanced power strip so that when you turn off the television, all of the home audio and video components will also turn off.

  • Consider combination products to save space, simplify set-up, and save energy in standby mode.

Televisions & VCRs

  • Turn televisions off when no-one is watching them. A TV left on for 8 hours a day or while you sleep will cost you about $41-$102 per year.

  • When choosing a new television look for the ENERGY STAR label to save energy.

  • If considering a flat-panel or large-screen television, consider purchasing an LCD model rather than a plasma model to cut your power usage by approximately 50%.

Printers, Scanners, & All-in-One Devices

  • Ink jet printers use as much as 90% less energy than typical laser printers.

  • Choose a multifunctional product (printer/copier/scanner) instead of separate products.

  • Don’t forget to turn your printer off at night as it still draws power even when not in use.

  • Plug your printer, scanner and all-in-one device into an advanced power strip so that when you switch off your computer (or put it in sleep mode) all of the peripherals will also turn off.



  • Use energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs instead of standard incandescent light bulbs and you can use 75% less electricity.

  • ENERGY STAR CFLs also emit less heat and are cooler to the touch than incandescent bulbs.

  • Replace your home’s 5 most frequently used incandescent lights with CFLs, you can save more than $60 a year in energy costs.

Ceiling Fans with Lighting Kit

  • Invest in an ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fan with a lighting kit to help cool your home and improve airflow. An ENERGY STAR qualified model is about 50% more efficient than a conventional unit and can save up to $20 per year on cooling and heating bills.

Lighting Fixtures

  • ENERGY STAR lighting fixtures put out the same amount of light as standard fixtures while providing excellent color rendering and light temperature.

  • Use only floodlights when needed, they use 2.5 times more electricity than indoor lights.

  • Replace 150 watt floodlight bulbs with outdoor ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs.

  • Keep your lights and fixtures clean to improve efficiency as much as 20%.

Holiday Lighting

  • Energy efficient lighting comes in a variety of festive styles and colors, including light emitting diodes (LEDs), fiber optic lights, candelabra CFLs, and rope lights, all of which use substantially less energy than standard holiday lighting.



  • Choose ENERGY STAR qualified doors that use materials to prevent heat loss and provide maximum energy savings.

  • Use multiple glass panes (double- or triple-paned insulating glass) to reduce heat flow.

  • Use improved weather stripping in the frames as well as a magnetic strip to create a tighter seal to help reduce air leakage around the edges.


  • Choose ENERGY STAR-qualified windows to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in winter.

  • Use multiple panes of glass to insulate against the weather, sound, and impacts.

  • Consider U-value and Low-E coatings. U-value is the measure of the window’s ability to insulate. Low-E window coatings are thin and transparent, permitting visible light to pass through, while effectively reflecting radiation and keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

  • Close storm windows in the fall.

  • Plastic installed over windows will help reduce drafts when installed securely.


  • Choose energy-efficient skylights to help in reducing your home heating and cooling costs.

  • Use multiple panes of glass to insulate against the weather, sound, and impacts.


  • Insulate your home, especially the attic.

  • Install a vapor barrier in your attic to reduce the flow of moisture from inside your home through the insulation. This eliminates the condensation that reduces insulation efficiency.

Exterior Lighting

  • Use solar-powered LED landscape lighting. This new technology is charged by sunlight (using zero metered electricity) and lasts for up to 8 hours with a full charge.


  • Take showers instead of baths.

  • Shortening the time you spend in the shower will not only save energy, but will also conserve water.

  • Use a low flow showerhead rated at 2.5 gallons per minute or less.

  • Keep the water running only when rinsing.

  • Repair leaking faucets, especially on the hot faucet. One drop per second can waste as much as 10 gallons of water in a week.

Source: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

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