80 ways to save energy

80 ways to save energy

Ever wonder how you can save electricity? It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated! In fact, there are many no- and low-cost ways you can use less energy. Here are 80 tips to have you save energy and money year-round.


Heating your home accounts for more than 30 percent of an average home’s energy bill – the single biggest energy expense in your home. Here are some ways that you can be more energy-efficient when heating your home:

  1. Turning the thermostat down about one degree saves about 2 percent on your heating bill. Turning it down five degrees saves about 10 percent.
  2. To save energy, set your thermostat at 68° F in the winter and 78° F in the summer, if possible.
  3. Set your thermostat cooler overnight.
  4. A programmable thermostat lets you easily lower the temperature when no one is home and while you’re sleeping. You could save as much as 20% on your heating costs.
  5. A tightly sealed home keeps the air you heat or cool inside and the outdoor air outside. Make sure your walls and attic are properly insulated. Adding insulation is one of the best savings measures you can do.
  6. Sealing leaks in your air ducts can reduce heating costs by up to 20 percent.
  7. Electric outlets let cold air into the house. Remove the outlet covers and insert special insulation underneath. Use special insulating plugs in outlets that are not being used.
  8. Your house will not warm up any faster if you raise the thermostat setting. When your heating system is on it runs at the same rate regardless of the temperature setting.
  9. Regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system will improve its efficiency and extend its life. Have your system inspected and serviced each year in the spring or early summer by a professional technician. Keep in mind that the longer you put off service, the less efficient your system becomes and the more money you will spend running it.



Did you know about 10 percent of your electricity bill is spent on lighting? Here are some easy ways to save energy.

  1. Switch to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. LEDs use up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 20 times longer than traditional incandescents. Because they’re so energy-efficient, LEDs can save you up to $135 over the life of the light bulb.
  2. Keep light bulbs clean. Dirt can absorb as much as 50 percent of the light.
  3. When buying new lighting fixtures or bulbs, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. They are the most energy-efficient on the market.
  4. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. This energy-saving measure has been around since Edison, and it’s as effective as ever.
  5. Have trouble remembering to turn the lights off? Occupancy sensors automatically switch them off once you leave a room – saving you money.
  6. Operating outdoor lights all night adds up.  Use outdoor lighting with motion sensors.
  7. Timers that automatically turn lights on and off can reduce your energy use and improve safety by making a house seem occupied even when you’re away.
  8. Unplug unnecessary lights. When unplugging lights, pull on the plug not the cord. Pulling on the cord will damage it and create a safety hazard.
  9. Keep lights off during the day. Use daylight whenever possible, rather than turning on overhead lighting.
  10. Buy ENERGY STAR light fixtures and lamps; they can use one-quarter of the energy traditional fixtures use.

Home Electronics

About 75 percent of the power used by electronics is wasted energy called “phantom power.” Don’t let phantom power raise your electricity bill.

  1. Use smart power strips with electronics such as your home entertainment center and computer. Smart strips automatically power down electronics you’re not using, while continuing to provide power to those that need it.
  2. Unplug chargers and power adapters when not in use. When your cell phone, digital camera or laptop is finished charging, the charger still draws energy unless you unplug it.
  3. Make sure your computer’s “sleep” mode is enabled. The computer will switch automatically to a low-energy mode when you’re away, cutting energy usage by more than half.
  4. Screensavers don’t save energy. The best way to reduce your computer’s energy use is to turn it off when you are not using it.
Home Electronics


Energy-efficient appliances and equipment can save money for years to come. If you’re purchasing a new appliance, check out the ENERGY STAR® models. They help you go green by using less energy. Here are some low-cost and no-cost ways to save:

  1. Check refrigerator and freezer temperatures to make sure they are not wasting energy. Refrigerators should be 36° F to 38° F and freezers should be 0° F to 5° F.
  2. Keep refrigerators and freezers away from heat-producing appliances or direct sunlight and they will not have to work as hard to keep things cold.
  3. Unplug kitchen appliances you’re not using. For example, coffee makers draw electricity 24/7. If you don’t use your coffee maker’s timer for automatic brewing, unplug it when you’ve finished brewing your coffee.


Remember that each of your appliances has two price tags: the purchase price and the price you pay to run that appliance over its lifetime. Choosing the most energy-efficient appliances will help reduce operating costs for years to come. Other tips:

  1. When you’re cooking, don’t open the oven door to take a peek. Each time you open the oven door the temperature drops 25 to 50 degrees and your oven uses more energy.
  2. A clean oven cooks more efficiently. Keep drip pans and oven surfaces bright and shining.
  3. Preheating the oven is only necessary for baked goods that require a precise starting temperature. If you must preheat, keep in mind that most ovens preheat in 10 minutes or less.
  4. Turn off your oven a few minutes before the cooking time is up. The oven will retain enough heat to finish cooking your meal.
  5. Use the microwave for smaller quantities of food. Cooking a potato in an electric oven costs about 10 cents. In a microwave, the cost is about 2 cents.
  6. Glass or ceramic pans are more efficient for cooking than metal pans. You can save money by lowering the oven temperature by 25 degrees and still cook in the same amount of time.
  7. In the self-cleaning mode, your oven reaches temperatures of 850 degrees. You can save energy by starting the self-cleaning cycle after cooking, while the oven is still warm.
  8. Boiling water doesn’t get any hotter, so once your water is boiling you can turn down the burner.
  9. Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator instead of the oven. It takes longer, but you’ll save energy. If you are really pressed for time, use the microwave for thawing.
  10. The fridge and freezer account for almost 6 percent of the average home’s utility bill. Stick to the right temperature. Keep your fridge between 36° F and 38° F. Set your freezer between 0° F and 5° F.
  11. Oversized appliances waste energy. Choose an extra-large dishwasher or fridge only if you have a large family that needs it.
  12. Use an exhaust fan to pull hot air out of your kitchen while cooking. The savings in cooling costs outweigh the cost of running the fan.
  13. Make sure your refrigerator has enough room behind it, and if you have have an older model, vacuum behind your refrigerator at least once a year to remove dirt and dust from the coils. Dust buildup not only increases energy use, but it also may cause the unit to break down.
  14. Use your dishwasher. You can save 5,000 gallons of water each year and $40 in utility costs instead of hand-washing dishes, according to ENERGY STAR.
  15. 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 slightly so the dishes will dry faster.

Water Heating

Water heating is the second largest use of energy in most homes. Check out these ways to reduce that expense:

  1. Set the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees. It’s one of the easiest ways to save.
  2. Ninety percent of the energy used by a washing machine is to heat the water. Go green by washing clothes in cold water, which cleans clothes just as effectively as warm or hot water in most situations.
  3. Wrapping your water heater with an insulating blanket can help you save on your electric bill. To see if your tank needs insulation, place your hand on the tank. If it feels warm, a blanket could help.
  4. Insulate your hot water pipes. It’s easy to do and inexpensive. Pipe insulation made of fiberglass or foam can be found in building supply stores.
  5. Minimize water use while you’re brushing teeth, shaving and washing your hands.
  6. Stop the drips. A faucet that drips once per second can waste 400 gallons of water a year. If the drip is hot water, that will cost you if you have an electric water heater.
  7. Replacing older showerheads with low-flow units could save a family of four as much as 15,000 gallons of water per year, reducing water heating costs by over $150.
  8. If you’re going on vacation, turn down the thermostat on your water heater. If there is no risk of freezing you can turn it off completely when you’ll be away for several days.
  9. Buy a water heater that fits your needs. If you buy one that’s too big you’ll pay to heat up water you don’t need.
  10. Take short showers; they use less hot water than baths.
Water Heating


There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes: use less water and use cooler water. Here are some tips:

  1. Cold water can clean clothes just as effectively as hot water in most situations. Wash in cold water to save energy and money.
  2. Two small loads of laundry use about twice the energy as one full load. By combining loads together you reduce your energy use.
  3. If you have to wash a partial load, be sure to match the load setting on your washing machine to the size of the load. The load setting determines how much water is used.
  4. If you are thinking about a new clothes washer, look for ENERGY STAR® models. These are the most energy efficient models on the market and can cut utility bills by an average of $50 per year.
  5. Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter weight clothes.
  6. Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  7. Consider air-drying your clothing on clothes lines or drying racks. Plus air drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.

Water Conservation

  1. Fix leaks. Small leaks add up to many gallons of water and dollars wasted each month. Water conservation saves energy and money.
  2. Use water-saving faucets, showerheads and toilets to save water.
  3. If buying a new water heater, always buy the most efficient model possible.
  4. When landscaping, use plants native to Pennsylvania that require minimal watering and possess better pest resistance. If local code allows, consider diverting “gray water” for irrigation.
Water Consumption



Nearly half of the average home’s electricity use goes to cooling and heating the home, according to ENERGY STAR. If you’d like to reduce your cooling costs, try these tips:

  1. Before you turn on the air conditioner, reduce your need for cooling. Use fans and natural ventilation first.
  2. A breeze on a non-humid summer day can keep you cool if you’re able to open the windows. Instead of turning on the air conditioner, open doors and windows on opposite sides of the house for cross-ventilation.
  3. Clean your filters monthly. Dirty or clogged filters block airflow and reduce efficiency.
  4. Fans use less energy than air conditioning. Use a ceiling fan if you have one because they are more effective than other fans.
  5. As long as indoor humidity is not very high running a ceiling fan allows you to set the thermostat four degrees higher without a noticeable change in comfort.
  6. If you are thinking about a new air conditioner, look for ENERGY STAR® models. They are the most efficient on the market and will save energy.
  7. Your house will not cool any faster if you lower the thermostat setting. Lowering the thermostat just makes the air conditioner run longer and use more energy.
  8. Do not add heat or humidity to your home, particularly during the hottest parts of the day. For example, turn on the dishwasher at night or when you leave the house.
  9. Each degree you raise the thermostat on your air conditioner saves 2 percent on your electric bill. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, if possible, for maximum savings.
  10. Close drapes and shades on windows during the day to keep heat from the sun out of your house. In the evening, open drapes and shades to let heat escape through the windows.
  11. Use a dehumidifier instead of turning on the air conditioner. You will be comfortable at higher temperatures if you reduce the humidity in your house.
  12. Use an attic fan to get rid of heat buildup. Heat from the attic eventually finds its way into your home.
  13. Room air conditioners work best when they are not exposed to the sun. Install your air conditioner on the north side of the house or take advantage of shade from trees.
  14. Make sure room air conditioners are installed tightly to avoid the cool air escaping. Seal any gaps along the sides of your room air conditioners with foam insulation. Your air conditioner needs to work much harder if the cool air is escaping.
  15. When you’re using central air conditioning, a programmable thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature when you’re away or sleeping.
  16. Look around the house and check the air vents and registers. If they are blocked by furniture or drapes, the air will not reach the rest of the room.
  17. Make sure air conditioner thermostats are not near electronics or other items that produce heat; the thermostat will read higher than it should.
  18. You may be able to lower your cooling costs by switching light bulbs. LEDs emit very little heat, unlike traditional light bulbs.
127 ways to recharge your Mother’s Day menu

127 ways to recharge your Mother’s Day menu

Mother’s Day is this weekend. We’ve included 127 ways you can recharge your Mother’s Day menu to show mom how much you care on her special day and every day! Mom likely hasn’t tried these for herself, and they’re delicious and easy to make. Our favorite part? These recipes are energy-efficient and require minimal cleanup.

Let mom sleep in to wake up to a wonderful brunch, or give her a delicious dinner that will wow her. Not the best cook?  Not a problem. Go unconventional. Give the stove and oven a rest. Try no-cook recipes and use smaller, more efficient appliances, like slow cookers, microwaves or even your grill, to use less electricity and save time.

Wondering exactly what to make? From appetizers and entrees to dessert this list has you covered and mom is sure to be impressed.

Still looking for the perfect recipe? Check out our Pinterest boards.

Don’t forget that these unconventional cooking methods typically require minimal cleanup, and that’s music to any mom’s ears — or yours in this case. You’ll save energy by not using the stove and oven AND by not having to use hot water to wash pots and pans.

What are your plans for mom this year? #Mom #HappyMothersDay #herestoyoumom
Know what’s below — It’s dig season

Know what’s below — It’s dig season

This is a guest blog post by Mark Santayana, project manager for PPL Electric Utilities’ Underground Facilities and Damage Prevention.

I love living in Pennsylvania! The character of the state runs the full spectrum of history and commerce, through the world-class cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to the bucolic serenity of Lancaster County and the great woods of the Northeast.

We’re also blessed with four unique and distinct seasons – Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter and Dig Season!

Typically, April 1 is the unofficial start of what is considered Dig Season in Pennsylvania. Of course, we all know April 1 as April Fools’ Day, but in my world as PPL Electric Utilities’ project manager for Underground Facilities and Damage Prevention, Dig Season and safe digging is no joke.

As warmer weather approaches, it is often pondered: What is the true sign that spring has officially, definitely, totally sprung? Some say it is the sighting of a robin. Others will point to the crocuses and tulips peeking through the earth.

The strongest indicators from our point of view are the daily, steady surge of dig notifications submitted to PA One Call by excavators, followed quickly by multiple sightings of yellow, blue, red and green flags and mark-out paint pinpointing the locations of underground utility lines throughout the communities we serve.

It’s also visible in the early morning presence of backhoes and augers accompanied by a small army of workers dressed in hard hats and high-visibility vests swarming the rights of way, highways and byways of the state’s road system.

This April 1 marks the fifth anniversary of National Safe Digging Month.

National Safe Digging Month is formally recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and has traditionally earned the support of nearly every governor across the country.

We’d like to remind homeowners and contractors to always call PA One Call at 811 at least three business days before beginning any digging project. The first layer of defense for all excavations is to know where all the underground utility lines are located before you dig.

According to Common Ground Alliance data, an underground utility line is unintentionally damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide, and one-third of those incidents are caused when no call is made to 811. During 2014, some 34 percent of all PPL Electric Utilities’ dig-in damages were a result of someone neglecting to call PA One Call.

We urge residents and contractors to “Make the 811 Promise” and visit www.the811promise.com. The 811 Promise serves as a reminder to make the call and to also promote the importance of 811. The site features a real-time promise tracker that allows all site visitors to view the campaign’s progress.

We’re advocating The 811 Promise as a simple reminder to always call 811 to avoid accidentally striking an underground utility line.

Spring is traditionally the peak time of the year for digging, and calling 811 is the safe way to learn the approximate location of underground utilities that include gas, electric, phone, Internet, water and sewer.

Throughout April, we’ll be promoting National Safe Digging Month. Won’t you join us?

For more information about 811, visit www.paonecall.org  or www.call811.com.

Call 811 Before You Dig – Know What’s Below.

Go, go green gadgets

Go, go green gadgets

This St. Patrick’s Day, along with green food, beverages and attire, you can go green at home. There are so many gadgets on the market that can help you save electricity. I personally love finding tech toys that make saving energy easy, convenient and fun!

I’ve put together a short list of gadgets that are easy to find, easy to install and make saving energy a no-brainer.

Usage Monitor
Kill-A-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor

Did you ever wonder how much energy your gadgets use – or if they’re using energy even when not in use? All you need to do is plug this monitor into an outlet and plug your electronic device into it. You can measure its energy use and play detective to find out where you might be wasting energy and where you are using the most energy. Pretty cool! Uncover your own energy-saving opportunities or find out what Project Envolve families discovered about their energy use with the Kill-A-Watt monitor.

Smart Thermostat
Programmable or Smart Thermostats

Thermostats can control half of your home’s energy. Half! That’s a pretty big deal. A correctly programmed thermostat can save about 20 percent on your heating and cooling bill, according to nest.com. These thermostats give you total control. You can program the thermostat to avoid wasting energy heating or cooling your home when you’re asleep or away. You can save about 1-3 percent per degree, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Learn what settings are recommended by the DOE.

Smart Strip
Smart Power Strips

Take your power strips to the next level. Smart strips work especially well for entertainment centers. No more gaming systems and accessories drawing phantom power 24/7. Smart power strips will automatically turn your DVD player, game system and other peripherals off when you shut off the television. And you have the ability to always power the DVR. If you have a regular power strip, simply turn the power strip off to turn off all the devices at the same time. Devices left on are wasting energy and your money.

LED Light Bulb
LED Light Bulbs

Replace your light bulbs with LEDs. They use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 20 times longer. And because they produce light without producing much extra heat, they’re cooler than traditional incandescent bulbs. Through our E-power programs, customers can receive instant in-store discounts on select ENERGY STAR LEDs. Find a participating retailer near you.

Slow Cooker
Slow Cooker or Microwave

Switch up how you cook and spruce up your recipe repertoire. By using smaller, more efficient appliances like slow cookers and microwaves, you can use less electricity for food preparation. Plus you’ll save time, too. These appliances are very versatile and have the ability to make appetizers, entrees and even desserts.

Occupancy Sensors

If you tend to forget to turn the lights off, consider installing occupancy sensors. They’ll automatically turn the lights on when you enter the room and off when it’s empty. They’re great for the powder room or laundry room.

Solar Lights
Solar Exterior Lights

Spring and summer are right around the corner. You can find all sorts of walkway lights and decorative lights to highlight your landscape. 

Energy Star Appliances

Are you in the market for any new appliances or electronics? Buy ENERGY STAR. You’ll save energy for years to come.

Going green around the house St. Patrick’s Day is easy thanks to these energy-saving gadgets and electronics. How are you going green?