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We've got tons of great ideas to help you pitch in – all over the house.
Match the cooking method to your meal, and the pan size to your cooktop. There's no need for a full oven when a toaster oven will do. And a six inch pan on an eight inch burner wastes over 40% of the heat produced by the burner.
Don't stand there with the fridge door open – it's a huge waste, since the appliance then has to work that much harder to get to the right temp. Think before you open the door, and go straight for the items you need. And, keep your freezer full – that's how it works most efficiently.
Don't waste water pre-rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Scraping the food off into the trash is plenty for any newish dishwasher to handle. Plus, you can compost table scraps.
Here are a few more ways you can pitch in.
Experts say convection ovens are usually more energy-efficient than conventional ovens because the heated air is continuously circulated around the food, reducing cooking times. On average, you could cut energy use by about 20%.
Microwave ovens use a lot of energy to operate, but because of drastically reduced cooking times, they actually use about 2/3 less energy than conventional ovens. They also generate less heat in the kitchen, reducing air conditioning costs in the summer.
When cooktop burner pans become blackened from heavy use, they can actually absorb a lot of heat and reduce cooking efficiency. So keep them shiny and lower your costs. Did we mention that our Mr. Muscle®, Fantastik® and other products will help you do the job?
You've heard it before – turn off the water while you brush your teeth or shave that stubble. It's because that time in-front of the mirror adds up. The water you run while you polish your appearance can use up to 4 gallons a minute.
There's nothing like a nice hot bath after a long day. But save them for special occasions. A typical shower uses 12 gallons of hot water, while a bath guzzles about 20. But when you do soak in the tub, fill it just one inch less than normal and you'll save up to 4 gallons of water.
A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water a day! So stop that running toilet or leaking faucet and call a plumber today.
A family of four each showering five minutes a day can use 700 gallons of water a week. That's about as much as one person would drink in three years. Install water-conserving showerheads and faucet aerators to save water.
Recycled toilet paper used to be rough and an unpleasant shade of grey. But now, we have more options to choose from, and higher quality products in the market. Using recycled paper products around the home help reduce the number of trees needed for production.
Try low-VOC paints inside your home. Once you've got the color just right, don't dump the leftover paint. Donate it to a theater group, parks department, school or other organization in your community.
Those ancient sweaters you never pull out of the closet? There's someone in your community that needs them more than your closet does. Consider donating them to keep somebody warm.
Furniture, carpets and floors can contain allergens like pollen, dust mites and mold. You breathe these in, and so do your kids. So vacuum weekly and consider replacing carpeting with wood floors.
Most of us sleep better when it's a bit cooler in the house. So go ahead and turn down your thermostat at night. You can save about 2% on your heating bill for every degree lowered for at least 8 hours a day.
A programmable thermostat will help you better manage your heating and cooling. Most households save about $150 a year when they install one. That will help you rest easy.
Can't get your kids to turn off the light when they leave their rooms? Tape a $5 bill over the light switch. Tell them if they remember all week, the cash is theirs.
Switch to compact fluorescent lamps. A single CFL provides the same amount of light as a 75-watt incandescent light bulb, lasts up to 7 times longer and uses less energy.
Skip the wood stove or fireplace. A fireplace can exhaust as much as 24,000 cubic feet of heated air per hour to the outside. Instead, cozy up on the couch with a comfy blanket. It'll keep you toasty warm and lower your heating bills.
Close your curtains and shades at night and open them during the day. You'll be amazed at how much warmth you can get from outside light during the day and how much heat you can conserve by keeping windows covered at night.
Rearrange rooms to make more use of natural light in your home. Lighter wall colors will also help reflect light back into the room to keep things bright.
Sure, TV's an easy way to zone out at the end of the day. But you can have a relaxing and energy-efficient evening if you trade the TV, DVD or stereo for a good book.
Once you can no longer use it, recycle it. From paper to plastic, batteries to printer cartridges, cell phones to monitors, you can recycle it. And if it doesn't fit in your recycling bin there are services that will collect what you no longer need.
You will save paper and money, not to mention the fuel it takes to get your payment across the country. Plus, if you use autopay, you'll save plenty of time and never have a late payment.
A power strip puts all your home office equipment on a single strip. That means you can shut down as soon as you're done working, eliminating stand-by and other power modes.
Consider buying a laptop instead of a desktop computer next time you upgrade. Laptops use significantly less energy. Plus, you can take it on the go and stay productive while you enjoy time away from your desk.
Print on both sides of paper. Re-sealable envelopes can be reused multiple times. Old calendars and greeting cards can be cut up and used for craft projects, scratch pads, laminated placemats and more.
Do you really need to print this page? Or is viewing it online enough? Chances are much of your Internet activity doesn't need to be printed. So take a moment to evaluate the content before you hit print. Many trees will thank you.
Consider buying items second-hand. Anything from furniture to fixtures, books to laptops. It can save you a bundle. After all, one man's trash is another's treasure.
Consider setting up a recycling station in your home. Recycling aluminum takes 5% of the energy it takes to create new aluminum. And producing new glass releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – more than 300 kg for each ton.
Front-load washing machines are often much more efficient than conventional top loaders. Plus, waiting for a full load before doing laundry saves time, water and energy.
Do you really need to dry your clothes in such a hurry? Ditch the dryer, and try air drying instead. If you have to use heat, dry like items together to save drying time. Also, keep the lint filter clean – it's safer and makes the machine more efficient.
Clean and tune your heating and AC units every year for ideal performance. Plus, you'll increase the life of the system, reducing breakdowns and repair costs.
Lowering the thermostat on your water heater can save big bucks. Aim for around 120 degrees – that'll give you enough for a nice shower, without putting money down the drain.
If you think you'll be stopping for more than a minute or two, turn off your car. Idling for longer than 2 minutes burns more fuel than restarting.
Bring your own cup. Using a washable commuter mug for your morning coffee will eliminate hundreds of wasted paper or Styrofoam cups each year.
Not forever – we know the carpool never rests. But take public transportation, walk, or bike to at least one errand a week. It can save you time, 20 pounds of CO2 emissions per day and help you stay in shape.
A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%, and can save you up to $0.28 per gallon. So what are you waiting for?
Make sure you're watering your lawn or garden...not the driveway or sidewalk. Water during the coolest part of the day, or in the evening, when water won't evaporate as quickly under the heat of the sun and more will make it to your garden.