It takes more than just using less energy to be energy efficient — it requires you to become more aware of how energy is used, where it is wasted, and how it can be used more effectively and efficiently in everyday life. Here are some top tips to help your home or business become more energy efficient.
When cooking on a gas stove, make sure that the flame heats only the bottom of the pot. It's not only dangerous for the flame to reach the side of the pot, it's also a waste of energy.
Did you know that pre-heating your oven really isn't always necessary? Pre-heated ovens are required mostly for baking bread and pastry, it's not always required for other foods.
Make sure lids fit tightly on pots and keep lids on when cooking. You'll save more energy and your food will also cook more quickly and evenly.
Don't forget to turn off the stove 2-3 minutes before the end of the proper cooking time. The element will stay hot, while the food continues to cook, and you'll save money.
Consider using small appliances such as microwaves or toaster ovens to cook or re-heat foods.
When using the oven, turn on the oven light to check food and keep pre-heating to a minimum.
Did you know that chest freezers are generally more efficient than upright models? That's because lifting the door on a chest unit releases less of the freezer's cold air. Whereas, opening the door on an upright freezer allows the cold air to flow down and out.
Do you have an extra refrigerator or freezer in the garage or basement? If you're not using it, then unplug the second refrigerator or freezer unless you really need those items. This is particularly important if they are older, less-efficient models.
Make the most of your freezer. Match the size of your freezer with your needs. If you can get by with just your fridge freezer, then unplug your deep freezer and save energy.
Regularly clean the filter at the bottom of your dishwasher to keep the machine running efficiently.
Did you know that rinsing your dishes may not be necessary? Some people rinse their dishes in the sink before putting them in the dishwasher. Don't bother – you'll save more water and energy by scraping all excess food off plates and cutlery. Your dishwasher will do the rest.
When using your clothes dryer, dry only full loads, which will reduce your energy usage. Clothes of similar weight should also be dried together.
When purchasing your next clothes dryer, buy one with a sensor that will turn off the machine automatically when the clothes are dry. This will help save energy and may reduce your electricity bill too.
Don't forget – it's important to dry loads consecutively, so that you can take advantage of the heat already in the dryer.
If you have a load of clothes that are extra dirty, use your washing machine's pre-soak cycle instead of washing your clothes twice.
Did you know that studies have shown that clothes rinsed in cold water come out just as clean as those rinsed in warm water? Rinse in cold water and you'll save money on your water-heating bill. To save even more, wash in warm rather than hot water.
Install low-flow showerheads and fix leaky faucets.
Don't forget to pull the plug and save. Battery chargers, such as those for laptops, cell phones and digital cameras, draw power whenever they are plugged in and are very inefficient.
Did you know that starting-up and shutting-down your computer does not use any extra energy, nor is it hard on your computer components? In fact, shutting-down your computer when you are finished actually reduces the wear and saves energy.
If your computer must be left on, make sure you turn off the monitor. The monitor uses more than half the system's energy.
Did you know that photocopiers are by far the most energy intensive office machines? To reduce your company's energy use, only photocopy what you need and remember to shut off the copier when it's not being used.
Did you know that even the location of your lamps or TV sets can have an impact on your energy bills? Don't place these appliances near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat can sense heat, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
When you're looking for new lamps, consider purchasing three-way lamps, they make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary.
Have you thought about dedicated compact fluorescent fixtures with built-in ballasts for your new light fixtures? These fixtures use pin-based replacement bulbs, which are more energy efficient than conventional bulbs.
Did you know that if you overfill your refrigerator, it will use up more energy than if you overfilled your freezer? The overfilled refrigerator blocks air circulation, which can make the motor work harder, but the overfilled freezer will perform better than an empty one.
Before you put leftovers in the fridge, you might want to let hot food cool down first. In doing so, you'll prevent your refrigerator from working extra hard and using valuable electricity.
When boiling water, consider using an electric kettle rather than the stove. Heating up an element on the stove is less efficient than an electric kettle.
Did you know that if you regularly clean your electric kettle with boiling water and vinegar, you'll remove the mineral deposits inside and make it more energy efficient?
Next time you're thinking of frying some eggs, reach for the electric frying pan, rather than using the stove. An electric frying pan uses less electricity than a conventional stovetop to cook the same amount of food.
Did you know that cooking on a barbeque will save energy during hot weather as compared to indoor conventional cooking? This is because indoor cooking heats up the air in your home and potentially increases your air conditioning needs.
After each load of laundry, be sure to clean the lint screen. Not only does a clogged filter increase your energy use, but it can also be a fire hazard.
Don't forget to use power bars for your home entertainment system or home office. Just remember to turn off the power bar when you're not using it and this will prevent you from wasting electricity.
Did you know that contrary to popular belief, less energy is consumed when lights are turned off and on, as you come and go, than if a light is left on all the time.
Don't forget to be energy efficient at the office too. Make sure you set all your office equipment to the energy saving mode, if possible. This will enable your equipment to "go to sleep" when you're not using it.
Have you ever thought of installing smart power strips on your office equipment? These strips can sense the presence or absence of people in the room and will turn on/off the attached equipment depending on the circumstances. This can help reduce your electricity usage.
Did you know that a laptop uses less energy than a standard computer? Maybe it's time to make the switch.
Choose the smallest computer monitor that will meet your needs. The bigger the monitor, the more energy it uses.
Have you ever thought of having an energy audit conducted in your home or office? It may be one of the best investments you make.
When purchasing appliances, use the EnergGuide label to compare the performance of equipment to help you make the most energy-efficient choice.
Note: These tips are suggested as general practices. However, actual results may vary.
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