Look for the ENERGY STAR logo when buying electronics and save 10 to 50% compared to standard equipment.
Set your computer's power management options so that it enters sleep mode after 30 minutes or less of inactivity.
Phantom load refers to power consumed by devices that appear to be off and can account for up to 10% of a home's electricity consumption. You can identify many of these devices by their glowing LED lights. Reduce or eliminate phantom load with one of the following options:
Turn off and unplug equipment when not in use.
Using a conventional power strip, turn power off to all devices plugged into the strip at one time.
Use a smart strip to automatically disconnect power based on occupancy, a timer, or a "master" appliance. This works well for offices and entertainment systems.
Hot Water, Kitchen, & Laundry
Look for the yellow EnergyGuide label showing estimated annual energy use and operating costs when purchasing new equipment.
Look for the WaterSense logo when purchasing plumbing fixtures to save 20% or more water than average products.
Install low flow faucet aerators and showerheads.
Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F. Each 10°F reduction in water heater temperature saves 3 to 5% in energy costs. Use the vacation setting or turn the temperature down further if you'll be out of the house for extended periods.
If the pipes leaving your water heater are uninsulated, cover them with pipe insulation.
A full refrigerator retains cold better than an empty one, so if you have a secondary refrigerator that holds just a few items, stock it with jugs of water. Better yet, recycle that refrigerator. A 15- to 20-year old refrigerator can use twice as much electricity as a newer, more efficient model.
Turn off your refrigerator's automatic ice-maker to save 15 to 20% on energy use. If your ice-maker does not have an on/off switch, lift the metal arm to the "up" position.
Most of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating water. Using warm water instead of hot can cut energy use in half. Using cold water with a cold-water detergent can mean even greater savings.
Heating & Cooling
Dirty filters make heating and cooling systems less efficient, meaning that they need to use more energy for the same results. Clean or replace filters regularly. Check your owner's manual for guidelines.
Keep vents, radiators, or baseboard heaters clean to help them deliver conditioned air more efficiently. Be sure that they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
Install a programmable thermostat to automatically control the temperature of your home based on a set schedule. You can also adjust the thermostat manually when you leave the house. Turning the temperature up in the summer and down in the winter when you won't be home saves on heating and cooling costs.
Have your heating and cooling system professionally checked on an annual basis. Your system will perform better and last longer with proper maintenance.
Ceiling fans can make rooms feel more comfortable without the need to adjust the temperature. In the summer, spin fans counterclockwise to push air straight down. In the winter, spin fans slowly clockwise to move warm air around the room. Remember to turn fans off when rooms are unoccupied.
Air Leaks & Insulation
In addition to saving energy and money, eliminating drafts will improve your home's comfort. Although some drafts can be felt with your hand, visit our Thermal Camera Loan Program page to learn about how to find hot and cold spots with a thermal camera.
Install foam socket sealers behind exterior wall outlets and switch plates to block potential air leaks.
Install door sweeps on exterior doors to minimize air infiltration.
Add weatherstripping around windows and door frames to ensure there is a tight seal when closed.
Caulk cracks and gaps that can be found in concrete, around joists, or between a home and its foundation. Also caulk around openings to the outside such as plumbing pipes and electrical or cable wiring.
Have a wood-burning fireplace? Once all embers are finished burning and the ashes are cold, the damper should be closed. You can also purchase a fireplace plug to seal up your chimney when it is not fireplace season.
Inadequate or missing insulation is often "hidden" in attics, walls, ceilings, and floors. A professional energy auditor can assess your home's insulation level and provide cost-effective recommendations. Refer to our Home Energy Assessment page for more information.
Energy Action Fairfax brings neighbors together to save energy.