Greener Living Tips-Appliances

Greener Living Greener living tips-Appliances and how you use them can impact your energy consumption. When selecting your home's appliances, compare the information on the (yellow and black) Energy Guide sticker. Sometimes spending a little more up front can reduce operating costs over the life of the appliance, conserving energy at the same time.

CookingWhen you can, cook several dishes together when using the oven. If the dishes call for separate temperature settings, just set it in the middle. Adjust cooking times rather than using the oven twice.

Cook with lids on your pans. For example, cooking spaghetti without a lid on the pot can use three times as much energy.

Use the smallest pan and burner needed for the job.

If the oven self-cleans, turn it on just after use, while the oven is still hot.

Don't peek into the oven as you cook. Every time the door is opened, a lot of heat escapes.

Contact a qualified appliance repair service if your gas burners have a yellow flame instead of blue flames. Yellow flames may mean the gas is not burning efficiently.

Seek alternative cooking sources. A pressure cooker cuts cooking time by about two-thirds, and a microwave uses less than half the energy of a conventional electric oven.

Dishwasher – Many dishwashers have energy-saving wash cycles that use less water. Using these cycles can save $5-15 per year.

Avoid running small loads in your dishwasher.

A no-heat air dry feature also can save energy by as much as 15 to 50 percent.

Some dishwashers have heaters to boost water temperature up to 140° or 145°F. However, most dishwashers function well at the 120°F setting. If your dishwasher has a booster heater, turn down your water heater thermostat to 120°F.

If you wash dishes by hand, fill wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run. This uses half as much water as a dishwasher does.

Disposal – Use cold water when running your garbage disposal. Cold water congeals grease better and keeps the disposal cooler, helping the unit run more efficiently.

Refrigerator/Freezer – Set the temperature of your refrigerator compartment at 36° to 38°F and the freezer at 0° to 5°F. For older models, check temperatures with a thermometer.

Make sure the fan vent is clean and keep the coils at the back of the refrigerator clear of dust. Dirty coils make the compressor work harder and use more electricity.

Keep the refrigerator door gasket (the plastic strip surrounding the door) airtight and in good condition. If needed, you may be able to repair or reattach it with glue. If not, the manufacturer or a local hardware store can supply you with a new one.

Keep your freezer tightly packed, adding bags of ice as needed to fill space.

Defrost whenever more than one-quarter inch of frost accumulates.

Arrange items in the refrigerator compartment to allow air to circulate freely. Keep liquids capped so they don't add to the humidity and make the compressor work harder.

Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as you can. Organizing items makes it easier to find what you need quickly.

On humid days, use the "power saver" switch, if you have one. When this switch is on, small heaters keep the outside of your refrigerator from "sweating." On other days, turn the switch off.

Defrosting frozen food in the refrigerator helps keep the refrigerator cold.

Washer/Dryer – Load washers and dryers to capacity, but don't overload. Overloading can cut down on efficiency.

Use the water level control on clothes washers. Use less water for smaller loads.

Use the right water temperature for washers. Washing clothes with cold water usually does not affect cleaning results and may reduce shrinkage.

Follow detergent instructions carefully. Using too much soap makes the washing machine motor work harder.

Remember that delicate clothes don't require as long a wash cycle as dirty work clothes.

If the dryer has an automatic cycle, use it. Over drying wastes energy and wears clothes out faster.

Clean the dryer's lint filter after each load to help keep the machine running efficiently.

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