Resolve to use less energy in 2024

Eating better and exercising more often top the list for the most popular New Year’s resolutions, often followed by making better financial decisions. What better way to save money than by using less energy? Listed below are some energy saving tips to help you reach your goal.

When cold weather sets in, heating your home can account for up to 52 percent of your total energy bill.

  • Open your drapes or blinds during the day to help capture heat from sunlight and close them at night to help retain the heat gain.
  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees when you’re home. If you’re going away for the weekend, lower the thermostat to 60 degrees.
  • Run your ceiling fan on “low” in a clockwise direction to circulate warm air when you’re in the room.
  • Install weather stripping and seals around doors and windows. Install gaskets under switch plates for lights and electrical outlets, and caulk all potential air leaks.

Whether for cooking, bathing, laundry, dish washing or other uses, about 15 to 20 percent of your monthly energy use goes toward water heating.

  • Take short showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower typically uses less than 15 gallons of water while a bath can use 30 to 40 gallons.
  • Approximately 80 percent of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heating water. Wash as many loads as possible in cold water.
    Improve your water heater’s efficiency by wrapping it in an insulated jacket made for this purpose.

Lighting typically accounts for about eight to 10 percent of the average electric bill.

  • Turn off lights when not in use. You can save more money by turning lights on and then off rather than leaving them on.
  • Energy-efficient LED bulbs produce more light for less energy. They cost more initially, but their longer life combined with energy savings make them less expensive in the long run.

Your refrigerator is one of the most expensive home appliances to operate.

  • Resist the urge to open the door and then decide what you want. Every time you open the door, 30 percent of the cool air escapes.
  • Cleaning the coils underneath or behind your refrigerator/freezer will keep it running efficiently and look for the ENERGY STAR® label when replacing appliances.

Conventional washing machines use 40-50 gallons of water per load while high-efficiency washers use as little as one-third that amount.

  • Avoid running your washer or dryer until you have a full load.
  • Clean the lint filter of your dryer after every load.
  • Adjust your dryer’s heat setting to “low” and take care not to over-dry your clothes.
  • Every few months, inspect the outside dryer vent and clean when necessary.

There are ways to make cooking and baking easier on your electric bill.

  • Turn the oven off 15 minutes prior to the specified baking time; the residual heat will finish the cooking process.
  • Leave the oven door closed during baking, each time you open the door, you lose about 25 to 50 degrees of heat.

Manage the many devices you use to inform, entertain and communicate with others and beware of energy “vampires.” Many electronic devices (computers, TVs, wall-chargers, etc.) use power even when you’re not actively using them.

  • Unplug these devices when not in use.
  • Create a charging station connected to a power strip that accepts all your power cords for laptops, cell phones and digital cameras and turn the power strip off when nothing is being charged.

By making some small changes to how you use energy,