10 not-so-obvious ways to save at home


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At this point, most of us already know that we should turn off the lights when we leave the room — and that those lights should be energy-efficient CFLs. But what other household tips can save you energy and water without digging deep in your wallet or watch?

We scoured the Internet and found some little-known factoids that will have you saving in no time.


1. If you’re having guests over, lower the temperature in your home 1 to 2 degrees before they arrive. A big group of people will warm up your place with their own body heat.

2. On cold days — like the ones we’ve been having of late — open your blinds and shades. Solar heat will raise the indoor temperature. Remember to close them at night to minimize heat loss.

3. Consumer Reports did some tests and found that pre-rinsing dishes is usually an unnecessary step. Scrape off food instead and save up to 6,500 gallons of water per year. (Prewashing is only recommended with burned or dried-on food.)

4. This may not be news to you: Put your computer to sleep when not in use. But this might be: Did you know you could save $25 to $75 each year by using the system standby or hibernating feature?

5. Plug electronics into a power strip so that you can turn them all off at once.

6. Using the cold-water wash cycle will save you about $60 a year.

7. Cover liquids and wrap foods in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.

8. If you’re preparing a meal for one, use a small electric pan, toaster oven or convection oven rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster or convection oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a full-sized oven, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

9. Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37 degrees to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the fresh food compartment and 5 degrees for the freezer section.

10. If you only need to run a small amount of water in the sink, keep the faucet in the cold position. Moving the lever in the hot position draws hot water even if it doesn’t reach the faucet.


Twitter tips

And some home energy-saving tips taken straight from the Twitterverse:

@HESConsumer (Home Energy Saver)
Ceiling fan motors should be reversed to blow air upward in winter.

@easygreenstore (Easy Green Store)
Fact: Up to 5,500 liters of water is wasted through a leaking tap per year.

Have you checked your home’s air filter this month? You should check it monthly, especially during heavy heating and cooling months.

@BrightNest (BrightNest)
America uses about 26 billion rolls of toilet paper per year — about 23.6 rolls per person!

@sofreshsogreen (sofreshandsogreen)
Do not use running water to melt ice or frozen foods.

@DAPproducts (DAP Products)
Run a stake through your energy vampires and seal them!

(All factoids are courtesy of Consumer Reports and the U.S. Department of Energy, with the exception of the energy-saving tweets.)

Comment below with some of your own tips.