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Home Appliances

Clothes Washers & Dryers

Wash in cold water. Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more.

Adjust the water level for your load size.

Don't overload your machine. Overloading will consume more energy as the motor strains to move the excess clothing.

Fill it up. Clothes washers use about the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load, so run full loads whenever possible.

Activate the high spin speed option. If your clothes washer has spin options, choose a high spin speed or the extended spin option to reduce the amount of remaining moisture in your clothes after washing. This decreases the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes.

Balance your loads before starting the cycle. A washer that consistently gets out of balance often wastes water and energy.

If your dryer has a setting for auto-dry, be sure to use it. You'll avoid wasting energy and over-drying, which can cause clothing shrinkage, generate static electricity and shorten the life of your clothes.

Clean the lint filter after every load to improve air circulation and avoid a potential fire hazard.

Use the cool-down cycle to allow your clothing to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.

Inspect and clean your dryer vent regularly to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and prevent a fire.

Make sure your washing machine has completed its cycle before you move the clothes into the dryer. Removing clothes that have not been spun completely may overload the dryer and cause it to malfunction.

Don't overload your dryer. Placing too many clothes in the dryer can double or triple drying time.

Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks.

Kitchen Appliances

Cook everything at once and use pots that fit the burners. Let food cool before putting it in the refrigerator.

Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean. They will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy.

Use small electric pans or toaster ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven. Use pressure cookers and microwave ovens whenever it is convenient to do so. They will save energy by significantly reducing cooking time.

Shorten cook times. When operating an electric oven, attempt to cook as much of the meal in it at one time as possible. Foods with different cooking temperatures can often be cooked simultaneously at one temperature-variation of 25 degrees in either direction still produce good results and save energy.

Preheat for five to eight minutes. When preheating an oven for baking, five to eight minutes should be sufficient. There is no need to preheat for broiling or roasting.

Run only full loads in the dishwasher and scrape dishes with cold water.

Refrigerators and Freezers

Keep cold air in. Open the fridge door as infrequently as possible.

Keep it full. An empty fridge cycles frequently without any mass to hold the cold. If your fridge isn't normally full, fill it with plain water in old milk jugs.

Clean the coils. Move your fridge out from the wall and vacuum its condenser coils at least once per year. Note: On some models, the coils are under the unit.

Check the temperature. A fridge that is 10 degrees colder than necessary can use 25% more energy. Keep the temperature between 35 and 38 degrees.

Allow hot foods to cool before refrigerating or freezing.

Check your door seals. To find out if your seals are airtight, close the door on a piece of paper and try to pull it out. If the paper slides out easily, cold air is escaping and increasing your energy bill.

Defrost the freezer before frost gets to 1/4 inch.

Lighting and Electronics

Turn off lights in any room not being used, even if your absence will only be momentary. For the outdoors, turn on lights only when needed.

Keep bulbs and fixtures clean. Dirt and dust reduce light output and efficiency. For safety reasons, don't clean bulbs and fixtures when they're hot or plugged in.

Use CFLs. Switch from regular incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs. According to manufacturers' estimates, they use up to 70 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer. (You can switch the bulbs back when it's time to move and take the CFLs with you.)

Turn off your computer when it's not being used. It's a myth that leaving a computer on will extend its life. When you're done using it, turn it off. Same goes for televisions, stereos and other equipment.

Vectren does not endorse any particular product or wholesaler.