Appliances & Electronics: If you live in a typical U.S. home, your appliances and home electronics are responsible for about 20 percent of your energy bills. These appliances and electronics include everything from clothes washers and dryers, to computers, to water heaters. By shopping for appliances with the ENERGY STAR® label and turning off appliances when they’re not in use, you can achieve real savings in your monthly energy bill.

  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
  • Always look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels when shopping for home appliances. The ENERGY STAR® label is the government’s seal of energy efficiency. The EnergyGuide label estimates an appliance’s energy consumption.
  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
  • Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.
  • Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
  • ENERGY STAR® computers and monitors save energy only when the power management features are activated, so make sure power management is activated on your computer.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on home appliances, electronics and other products. ENERGY STAR® products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • These “phantom” loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home, 25% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and using the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance.
  • For older appliances, use a power controlling device to reduce the energy consumption of the appliance’s electric motor.
  • Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).
  • Saving energy starts with being an informed consumer. Estimate an appliance’s annual energy cost using this guide.
  • Studies have shown that using rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and PDAs is more cost effective than throwaway batteries. If you must use throwaways, check with your trash removal company about safe disposal options.
  • There is a common misconception that screen savers reduce energy use by monitors; they do not. Automatic switching to sleep mode or manually turning monitors off is always the better energy-saving strategy.
  • To maximize savings with a laptop, put the AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off (or will turn off automatically); the transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
  • Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
  • Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
  • Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
  • When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, it will save wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
  • Turn off your personal computer when you’re away from your PC for 20 minutes or more, and both the CPU and the monitor if you will be away for two hours or more.
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