Usage and Safety 
kitchen, bath and laundry

Try these low- or no-cost tips to boost your household’s
energy efficiency:

The Kitchen
Your Refrigerator

  • Locate your refrigerator in a cool spot with good air circulation and away from heat sources like direct sunlight, your kitchen range and heat vents.
  • Open and close the refrigerator door quickly and infrequently.
  • Carefully select a refrigerator/freezer with energy-saving features. Units with the ENERGY STAR label are among the most efficient. Be aware that manual-defrost freezers use up to 30% less energy than units that defrost automatically.
  • If you have a manual-defrost freezer, be sure to defrost regularly. You should not allow a build-up of more than 1/4" of ice. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
  • Avoid putting hot foods in the refrigerator.
  • Clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils regularly.
  • Use your refrigerator optimally. A full but not tightly-packed refrigerator is most efficient.
  • Inspect the seals on your refrigerator, freezer and oven doors to ensure that they fit tightly. Simply place a lighted flashlight inside the appliance. If you see light around the gasket after the door is closed, replace the gasket.

Your Range

  • When cooking small meals, use only small electric appliances.
  • When necessary, pre-heat your oven for no more than 10 minutes.
  • Carefully plan your use of the oven. When possible, avoid using range burners that are less efficient than a closed oven. A complete meal can be cooked in the oven as economically as one food item.
  • Resist peeking into the oven. Every time you open the door, you lose heat.
  • Check all range burners. If the flame on your natural gas stove burns with a yellow rather than a clear blue flame, improper combustion is occurring. Something may be clogging the burner outlets or burner air inlets. Turn off the natural gas, remove the burner and clean these areas with a wire pipe cleaner and vacuum cleaner. If this doesn’t improve the color of the flame, call a service person.
  • Use flat-bottomed pans with covers and match the size of the pots and pans to the size of your burners. Also, minimize the amount of water in pans and use the lowest heat setting needed.

Other Kitchen Appliances

  • Use the dishwasher only when full. In addition, let clean dishes air dry.
  • Install a flow restrictor in the kitchen sink faucet to reduce the use of hot water.
  • Use cold water rather than hot when operating your food disposer.


The Bath

  • Take showers rather than baths. A typical shower requires only half as much hot water as an average bath.
  • Use your bath and kitchen exhaust fans sparingly. In just one hour they can remove a houseful of warmed or cooled air.
  • Repair all leaky faucets. One drop per second can waste as much as 10 gallons of water in a week. If the water is hot, you lose not only the water but also the energy used to heat the water.
  • Install water flow restrictors on your shower heads and faucets to reduce your
    water use.


The Laundry

  • Wash clothes in hot water only when necessary. Always use cold water for rinsing.
  • Operate washers and dryers with full loads to make best use of warm water or warm air. See the manufacturer’s literature to determine the maximum load.
  • Clean the lint screen on your dryer after each use to keep it running efficiently. Also check the dryer exhaust periodically to be sure it is not blocked.
  • Don’t overdry clothes in the dryer.
  • Hang your laundry outdoors to dry. The fewer times you use your clothes dryer, the less energy you’ll use.
  • Turn your iron off a few minutes before you’re finished ironing. Residual heat will finish the job.

 
 

did you know? 

In most households, the refrigerator is the single
biggest energy consuming kitchen appliance. Replacing a refrigerator bought in 1990
with a new ENERGY STAR qualified model would save enough energy to light the average household for
nearly four months.

>>Find out more