You can save substantial amounts on your electricity bill by changing the way you use your appliances and lighting in your house.
Have you ever wondered just how much power one of your appliances is using? Are your appliances more than 20 years old?
Borrow a Kill-a-Watt Meter
The AEA has a number of Kill-a-Watt meters for the public to take home and monitor energy use within your home. You simply unplug the appliance, plug the meter into the outlet and then plug the appliance into the meter. An easy-to-read digital display tells you how many kilowatt-hours that appliance uses, and from that information you can determine how much money it’s costing you. Kill-A-Watt meters are available at all the Arctic Energy Alliance offices and some Local Housing Offices and public libraries.
Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature. Many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater to a lower temperature.
Scrape, don’t rinse, large food pieces and bones from dishes. Soaking or pre-washing is generally only recommended in cases of burned-on or dried-on food. Don’t use the “rinse hold” on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water each time you use it.
Be sure your dishwasher is full, but not overloaded.
Try not to locate your dishwasher next to the refrigerator. The heat produced by the dishwasher will cause your refrigerator to work harder.
Let your dishes air dry. If you don’t have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open a little so the dishes will dry faster.
Efficient ENERGY STAR® certified dishwashers will save water, energy and money. If you own a dishwasher made before 1994 you’re paying an average of $40 more on your utility bills each year compared to owning a new ENERGY STAR certified model.
Wash your clothes in cold water, using cold water detergents whenever possible.
Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water level setting.
Purchase an efficient ENERGY STAR certified washer. Rebates for washing machines are available.
ENERGY STAR certified dryers will often use about 20 percent less energy than a standard model. Ventless dryers are usually the most efficient dryers, and can qualify for a rebate. Air drying (using a laundry rack or clothes line) when possible is still the best way to reduce the energy used drying your laundry.
Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
Periodically inspect your exterior dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
Look for an ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator with automatic moisture control. Models with this feature have been engineered to prevent moisture accumulation on the cabinet exterior without the addition of a heater. This is not the same thing as an “anti-sweat” heater. Models with an anti-sweat heater will consume 5% to 10% more energy than models without this feature.
Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 1° to 3°C for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and -18°C for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at -18°C. To check refrigerator temperature, place an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. To check the freezer temperature, place a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.
Keep your fridge and freezer full. Surprisingly, it takes less energy to cool a full refrigerator or freezer than an empty one, provided it is not so jammed that air can’t circulate. Fill extra space with gallon jugs of water placed in the back of both the freezer and refrigerator. You can drink the water and use the ice in portable coolers.
Open the refrigerator door less. Every time the door opens, warm air rushes in. Energy must be used to cool it back down. If you’re cooking, get all the refrigerated items you need for the recipe at the same time. And when you’re finished with them, put them back in the refrigerator at the same time.
Food safety requires prompt cooling of most hot foods. Cool foods quickly in a cold water bath, or place small items directly into the refrigerator.
Always cover everything. Humidity escapes from uncovered foods and liquids. The compressor must work harder to remove the excess humidity.
The single most effective way to reduce refrigerator energy costs is to remove or unplug unnecessary refrigerators or freezers. Running a second refrigerator or freezer, particularly an older model, only makes sense when the additional cold storage is needed. Consolidate your fresh and frozen foods into one appliance and you’ll see the savings. You can also keep freezers outside (or in an unheated shed or garage) so it is not necessary to plug them in during the colder months.
Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers. Frost build-up increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one quarter of an inch.
Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator.
Move your refrigerator out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils once a year unless you have a “no clean” condenser model. Your refrigerator will run for shorter periods with clean coils.
Fridge and Freezer Technology
Buy an ENERGY STAR certified fridge. Make sure to take your old fridge to the landfill. Rebates for ENERGY STAR certified appliances are available.
- Perform scheduled maintenance on units.
- Keep evaporator coils clean and free of ice build-up.
- Adjust door latches and replace worn door gaskets.
Put glass doors on display cases or at least use night covers on display cases when customers are away.
Disconnect anti-condensate heaters or install an Anti-Condensate Controller (ACC).
Keep refrigerators full (water jugs make good fillers).
Install auto door-closers and strip curtains on walk-in freezers or coolers.
Industrial Refrigeration Technology
Upgrade your industrial refrigeration systems to a more efficient system. New technology like Freeaire® have already been successfully installed in the NWT and have saved substantial amounts of energy.
Turn off computers, monitors, printers, copiers, and lights every night and every weekend. If you can’t turn off the whole computer, turn off the monitor and the printer.
Implement paper-reducing strategies such as double-sided printing and reusing paper. Use e-mail instead of sending memos and faxing documents.
Office Equipment Technology
When purchasing computers, monitors, printers, fax machines and copiers, consider ENERGY STAR certified models that “power down” after a user-specified period of inactivity.
Use laptop computers; they consume 90 percent less energy than standard desktop computers and virtually all can be connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse when used in the office.
Ink-jet printers consume 90 percent less energy than laser printers, you may be able to use one instead. Purchase appropriately sized copiers for your company’s needs.
Turn Off Unused Lights
Turn off the lights in any room you are not using, or consider installing timers, photo cells, or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
Use task lighting
Instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use LED under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops.
Lamps placed where their light can reflect off at least two walls, such as in a corner, provide the most light for your money.
LED Bulbs and Fixtures
- Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
- LEDs last 3 times longer than CFLs and 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
- LEDs have no mercury, can be dimmable, are very durable, and work well when it is cold.
Consider LED night lights. They are much more efficient than their incandescent counterparts.
Install motion sensor lights to turn off lights when nobody is in a room.
ENERGY STAR In Canada – Natural Resources Canada’s information on the ENERGY STAR program in Canada