Celebrate Earth Day by saving energy

Photo of hands holding the Earth

April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It is a good time to save some energy around your home. You can start by:

  • Caulking around windows and doors to seal air leaks, and adding insulation to your attic. Both will prevent air-conditioned air from getting out of your house through the roof this summer. Wasting less energy is the easiest way to save it. 
  • Cooking dinner in your microwave oven. Microwaves use up to two-thirds less electricity than conventional ovens. They also cook food faster.
  • Unplugging the TV, stereo, computer, printer and other electronics when you’re not using them. Unplug cell phone chargers once you remove the phone.
  • Replacing your old thermostat with a programmable model. You could save up to 10 percent on cooling and heating, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Lowering the water heater’s temperature to 130 F. Wrap your storage tank in a blanket designed to keep it warm so it will use less energy to heat the water.
  • Washing clothes in cold water. You could save more than $60 a year and help your clothes last longer, too.
  • Running your clothes dryer only when it’s full. Dry two or more loads in a row to make use of the heat already in the dryer. And locate your dryer (and your washer) in a heated space.
  • Using the energy-saving cycle on your dishwasher and not using the heated drying cycle. If your dishwasher sits next to your refrigerator, move it. The dishwasher gives off heat that forces your refrigerator to work harder.
  • Replacing your air conditioner’s filters before the cooling season begins. Clean filters help the system operate more efficiently.
  • Putting off using the air conditioner, especially at night, until the weather gets hotter. Open the windows instead and let the spring breezes into the house to keep you cool.
  • Keeping the area around the outside of the air conditioner unit clean. Remove dirt, grass and any debris that has collected around it so those things don’t restrict its air flow. Trim shrubs away so they don’t touch it. You should rinse your unit every now and then — but shut off the power to the unit first. A tip: Never use a power washer to clean the outdoor unit.