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100 Ways to Save Energy at Home

Saving energy at home is easy. Click on the category links below to learn about time-tested tips and energy-saving choices for reducing your home energy consumption:

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  • Cooling

    Cooling

    • Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counter-clockwise direction in the summer; in the winter, run it at low speed, but clockwise.
    • Close your exterior doors and windows tightly when the AC is on. Save even more by turning off kitchen and bath exhaust fans after use.
    • Sign up for EnergyWise® Home, a free program that can pay you up to $147 a year to help manage Florida’s energy use.
    • Keep interior doors and air vents open. This allows air to circulate freely throughout the home.
    • Change or clean your AC's air filters at least once a month to keep your system running at peak performance.
    • Get a free Home Energy Check. It can help determine whether your home has leaky ducts -- which can waste up to one-third of your heating and cooling costs.
    • Choose a high-efficiency AC with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 14 or greater. Not only will your AC be more efficient, you could also be eligible for a rebate up to $350.
    • Make saving automatic: Set your thermostat fan switch to "auto" and save up to $25 a month. Leaving it in the "on" position keeps air running constantly.
    • Block the sun from overheating your home. Using shades, blinds and drapes to keep the sun out during the day will also help protect furniture and carpeting from fading.
    • Insulate your walls with injected foam insulation to help you save energy by keeping outside heat from seeping through porous block walls. You may also qualify for a rebate up to $300.
    • Give your AC a tune-up. Running an inefficient AC system can result in high monthly bills.
    • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense. 
    • Repair leaky air ducts. Duke Energy will pay the first $150 toward qualified repairs.
    • Install R-30 attic insulation and seal any attic leaks to reduce high home cooling costs. You’ll save money each month and may qualify for a Duke Energy rebate starting at $75.
    • Decorate for a cooler home by hanging light-colored curtains that allow light to enter a room while blocking some of the sun’s rays, and using light-colored paint to reflect heat.
    • Plant trees and use outdoor awnings to provide shade on the sunny side of your home.
    • Use ceiling fans to cool off for less. Ceiling fans can make you feel three to four degrees cooler. Be sure to turn them off when you leave – fans cool people, not rooms.
    • Raise the temperature on your thermostat to 78-80 degrees for cooling. You’ll save 7 percent or more of your cooling costs for each degree above 78.
    • Install a programmable thermostat to adjust your temperature during the day. When properly installed and set, you could save up to $180 per year in energy costs.
    • Add door sweeps to stop conditioned air from escaping through the gap under your doors.
    • Combat energy lost from leaks through electrical switch covers and outlet covers by installing inexpensive gaskets underneath these covers.
  • Cooking
    • Keep the oven door closed while cooking – the temperature can drop 25-30 degrees each time you open the oven door.
    • Grill out more often during the summer. Using the oven in the heat of summer forces your AC to work harder, which raises your energy bill.
    • Use copper-bottomed pots and pans that use heat more efficiently when cooking on the stove.
    • Keep stove reflector pans clean to reflect more heat upward while cooking.
    • Turn off your oven or burners when food is almost ready and let existing heat finish the cooking for you.
    • Use microwaves and toaster ovens to cook or warm leftovers. You could save up to 30 percent of the energy required to cook with a conventional oven.
    • Use tight-fitting covers on pots and pans when cooking on the stove to shorten your cooking time and save energy.
    • Match your pot size to the burner on your stove. Heat is lost when small pots are used on large burners.
    • Turn off kitchen fans immediately after use.
  • Electronics
    • Plug electronics into a power strip; then turn the strip off when not in use to save energy.
    • Avoid energy vampires. U.S. households spend roughly $100 per year to power home electronics like clock displays and remote controls left in “standby” mode.
    • Look for ENERGY STAR®-qualified TVs – they’re up to 40 percent more energy-efficient than nonqualified models.
    • Consider a laptop next time you're looking to buy a computer – they use less energy than desktop computers.
    • Set your computer to sleep or hibernate mode instead of using the screen saver so it uses less electricity during periods of inactivity.
    • Use ENERGY STAR-qualified copiers; they make two-sided copies, so they’ll save trees, and they run cooler so they’ll last longer.
    • Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.
    • Make sure power management is activated on your computer. ENERGY STAR labeled computers and monitors save energy only when the power management features are activated.
  • Heating
    • Cover all bare floors. Carpeting or rugs add to comfort and heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
    • Raise the temperature slowly to keep your bill lower. Quickly raising your heat pump's temperature activates the heat strip, which uses more energy.
    • Give your heat pump a yearly checkup to ensure that it’s in proper working order to handle colder days and nights.
    • Set your thermostat to 68-70 degrees during the day in the winter, and 65-68 degrees at night. For every degree you reduce, you’ll save 10 percent or more on your heating costs.
    • Close the flue in your fireplace and install glass doors to keep in the warm air.
    • Don’t block air vents with drapes and furniture and make your heater work harder than it has to.
    • Get an energy-efficient heat pump and you could cut your heating costs in half. Duke Energy offers rebates up to $350 to help you upgrade.
    • Change the filters in your heating system every month for optimum efficiency.
    • Give your heat pump’s outdoor unit space to work efficiently. Never stack anything against or drape anything over it.
    • Heat your home with the sun's help. Leave window shades or blinds open during the daytime. And consider using solar heat to supplement your normal heating source.
    • Lower your thermostat every time you leave the house in the winter months.
    • Use portable heaters sparingly. Running a 1,500-watt resistance heater 24/7 costs around $100 month.
    • Upgrade to injected foam wall insulation if you’ve got porous block walls. Duke Energy offers up to $300 in rebates to help you manage the cost.
  • Laundry
    • Wash with cold water whenever possible -- you could save between $30 and $40 per year.
    • Wash and dry several loads at once, so that your dryer isn't completely cooled down when it heats up for the next load.
    • Avoid over-drying your clothes. It wastes energy, plus causes static and wrinkling.
    • Separate wash loads into light and heavy fabrics for the shortest drying times. Or better yet – air-dry your lightest fabrics.
    • Vent your dryer to the outside to reduce the workload on your air conditioner.
    • Wash full loads of clothes when possible. When smaller loads are necessary, use less water.
    • Hang dress clothing to air dry on portable laundry racks; they will also look better.
    • Clean the dryer lint filter before every load to keep your dryer running efficiently.
  • Lighting
    • Replace your five most-used light fixtures and/or bulbs with ENERGY STAR products. If each American did, we would save about $8 billion per year in energy costs.
    • Swap out your standard bulbs. Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs last up to 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy than standard bulbs.
    • Use the right bulb. CFL bulbs come in various sizes and types for different lighting needs. For more information about CFLs, visit the ENERGY STAR website.
    • Replace halogen light bulbs, which can get hot enough to be a fire hazard, with CFLs – they use less energy and don’t get as hot.
    • Use motion-detector lights for all your outdoor lighting – they’re convenient and efficient. For additional savings, buy compact florescent bulbs for your motion detectors.
    • Consider using timers to turn lights on in the morning and off during the day.
    • Choose outdoor CFLs for outdoor lighting – they last up to 10 times longer than standard bulbs.
    • Light your home with less heat. One CFL bulb is four times more energy-efficient than a regular bulb, while producing less heat.
    • Save energy on under-counter kitchen lighting by using ultra-efficient LEDs.
    • Recycle your CFLs; don’t throw them in the garbage. Contact your local municipal solid waste agency or visit earth911.org to find local recycling locations.
  • Pools
    • Reduce your pool pump’s operating hours to the minimum necessary for pool cleanliness; you will save money and extend the life of your pump.
    • Keep heated pools covered; 70 percent of pool heat loss is caused by evaporation.
    • Use spa pumps and heaters only when necessary; they use more than two times the energy for refrigerators or standard TVs.
    • Install a solar pool heating system to replace your old pool heating system.
  • Refrigeration
    • Pull the plug on that second fridge located in the hot garage or utility room.
    • Set your refrigerator temperature between 35 and 38°F. Use the power-save switch if you have one.
    • Repair refrigerator door seals if you feel cold air around the closed door or if moisture is collecting.
    • Dust your fridge the next time you dust your house. Check the coils behind the refrigerator and use coil vacuums or dusters to clean it off and keep costs down.
    • Keep your freezer full – it uses less energy than an empty one. For maximum savings, consider filling your freezer with gallon containers of water.
    • Choose energy-efficient appliances. If just one in 10 homes used them, the change would be equal to planting 1.7 million new acres of trees.
    • Replace your refrigerator. New energy-efficient models can use 75 percent less energy than your older model. Look for the yellow Energy Guide label so you can compare operating expenses.
  • Roofing
    • Reduce the amount of heat coming into your home and decrease strain on your AC by applying a reflective roof product. Duke Energy also offers rebates up to $150 to help you upgrade.
    • Keep your roof lasting longer. Reflective roofs not only reduce heat buildup, they also prevent the expansion and contraction that degrade roofs.
  • Water heating
    • Save up to 85 percent on the water-heating portion of your bill by installing a solar water heater. Plus, you can qualify for a Duke Energy rebate of $550.
    • Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads – available at home improvement stores – to reduce your hot water use.
    • Turn off your water heater if you plan on leaving home for a few days. Most models will reheat the water to the set temperature in about an hour.
    • Shorten those showers. Showers use up to 30 percent of your household hot water costs.
    • Insulate the first six feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater. It’ll keep your comfort high and your energy bills low.
    • Get an insulation wrap to help your old water heater keep heat in more effectively.
    • Reduce your water heater temperature setting from 140 degrees to 120 degrees; you’ll save about about $26 per year on your energy bill, without sacrificing comfort.
    • Look for the Energy Guide label when purchasing a new water heater; even if a more efficient heater is more expensive, you'll save money over time.
    • Stop that dripping hot water faucet. Leaky faucets not only increase water bills but also increase electricity use for heating the wasted water.
    • Install a timer for your water heater that will turn it off when you are not at home.
    • Choose the right water heater for your needs. While they may promise savings, tankless models are pricey to install and on-demand water heaters may actually increase your electric bill.
  • Windows
    • Install high-performance windows, screens and films to protect upholstery, wood and artwork from UV rays while saving energy.
    • Eliminate "hot spots" in your home by using high-performance windows, solar window screens and qualified window films.
    • Consider high-performance windows before you replace your AC system. They’re so efficient that they may help reduce the size and cost needed for an AC unit. Have them professionally installed to minimize the amount of solar heat in your home.
    • Install high-performance windows with double-glazing and spectrally selective coatings that reduce heat gain and avoid cranking up your AC. When you upgrade, you can receive a Duke Energy rebate up to $250.
    • Try window film as a lower-cost upgrade; it’ll help keep the heat out in the summer, plus you can get a Duke Energy rebate up to $100, following your free Home Energy Check.
    • Seal around your windows with caulk to stop any leaks.
    • Look for the National Fenestration Rating Council label when shopping for new windows: it means the window's performance is certified.