Whether you rent or own your home, you can increase the comfort of your home and lower your energy costs with just a few small changes. Check out each category below to learn about free or low-cost changes you can make today.
Low-Cost and No-Cost Tips to Save Energy and Money
- Upgrade to ENERGY STAR® LEDs as they are tested for quality and long-lasting energy performance.
- Buy qualifying bulbs at discounted prices. Look for the Energy Trust logo at participating retailers throughout Oregon.
- Install LEDs in your most frequently used lights to save the most on energy costs—kitchens and bathrooms are a great place to start.
- Use motion sensors for your outdoor lights.
- Turn off lights when not needed.
- Install water-saving showerheads and faucet aerators.
- Buy qualifying efficient showerheads at discounted prices. Look for the Energy Trust logo at participating retailers throughout Oregon.
- Check your water pipes, toilets and faucets for leaks and repair any you find.
- Use the water-saving setting on your dishwasher.
- Scrape food residue off plates instead of using water to rinse.
- Shorten showers to cut hot water costs—using a timer can help you track and reduce your shower time.
- Wash and rinse laundry with cold water and only run full loads whenever possible.
- Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving.
Heating and Cooling
- Use ceiling fans to push hot air down in winter, and to keep air circulating so you feel cooler in summer.
- Clean or replace filters regularly to help your furnace, heat pump and air conditioner work at peak efficiency.
- Cover bare floors with rugs to add comfort and help retain heat, especially if there is little or no floor insulation in your home.
- Install a smart thermostat so it can adjust the temperature automatically and help you save energy all year long.
- Vacuum registers regularly and avoid blocking them with furniture and other objects to keep air flowing freely.
- Turn down the thermostat to 65-68 degrees during the day and 58-60 degrees at night during cooler months. If you have a heat pump, turn the thermostat down no more than three degrees at night. In warm weather, set your heat pump or air conditioning thermostat to 72-75 degrees.
- Heat your home in winter with help from the sun by leaving window shades or blinds open during the daytime; close window coverings at night to help keep the heat in.
- Close fireplace and wood stove dampers when not in use, but wait until several hours after the fire is out and the ashes are cold.
Appliances and Electronics
- Unplug battery chargers for mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other devices when not in use—they use energy even when they’re not actively charging anything.
- Group printers, computers and monitors, DVD players, TVs, game consoles and other electronics on easily accessible power strips that can be switched off when you’re away from home or when the electronics are not in use.
- Disable your screen saver and shut down desktop computers at night.
- Cook with a countertop convection, microwave or smaller electric appliance, instead of a full-size stove whenever possible.
- Use a Kill a Watt® energy monitor to see where you can further cut your electricity use.
- Avoid covering oven racks with foil when cooking. Food cooks more quickly when air can move freely around it.
- Add items to your freezer and fridge if they’re nearly empty to help them stay cold; full units perform better than empty ones. An easy way to fill empty space is to add containers filled with water.
- Let hot foods cool before putting them in the fridge or freezer. Storing hot food makes your fridge or freezer work harder to cool down.
- Use the energy-saver drying options on your dishwasher. Let dishes air dry if possible to save more energy.
- Check to make sure fridge and freezer seals are tight. To test the seals, close the door on a dollar bill and try to pull it out – it should be difficult to remove if the seals are as tight as they should be.
- Dry two or more loads in a row when doing laundry to take advantage of the heat that’s still in the dryer from previous loads. Hang clothes to air dry when possible.
- Clean lint filters after drying each load of clothes.
Seal Air Leaks
- Install gaskets around exterior wall switches and outlet to prevent air loss and infiltration.
- Caulk small holes and cracks around ducts, pipes, exhaust fans, vents, sink and bathtub drains, fireplace and under countertops.
- Add weather stripping to drafty doors and windows.
- Close exterior storm windows during colder months if they are installed on your home. If your home has older windows without exterior storm windows, install simple interior storm window kits.
Hot Weather Tips
- Use light-colored window coverings to help reflect heat away from entering your home through window glass.
- Add a low-emission film to your window panes to reduce the heat entering your home through window glass.
- Close windows and window coverings in hot weather during the day to keep hot air out. Open windows at night or early morning to let cool air in.
- Shield windows from the sun with exterior blinds, awnings or shutters.
- Plant trees or tall shrubs to provide shade on the sunniest sides of your home, especially if you have windows that face west or south.
- Choose an ENERGY STAR ceiling fan. Qualified ceiling fan/light combination units are about 60 percent more efficient than conventional fan/light units.
- Combine fans with air conditioning. If you use air conditioning, a fan can allow you to raise the thermostat setting and still stay comfortable.
- Use window fans to pull cool air in and draw warm air out. A box fan or window-mounted fan on the north side or shady side of your house can draw in cool air. A second fan on the opposite side of the house can blow hot air out.
- Run your kitchen and bathroom fans to vent heat and moisture.
- Skip the oven and cook on your stovetop or grill outside.
- Make sure your attic is well ventilated. Adequate vents, positioned low and high, allow hot air to escape, keeping your home cooler and reducing the need for air conditioning.
- Download the full checklist with these tips to beat the heat (PDF)