This is the first installment of a new Energy.gov series highlighting the "Top Things You Didn't Know About..." Check back for more in the coming weeks!
11. Placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary because the thermostat senses heat from the appliances. Set them apart and save energy.
10. Lighting makes up about 10 percent of home energy costs. Save up to 75 percent of that energy by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). They also last longer, saving money on replacements.
9. If #10 weren’t enough reason to make the switch to CFLs, only about 10 to 15 percent of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light -- the rest is turned into heat. Don’t believe me? Watch this.
8. Running your air conditioning at 78°F instead of 72°F can save between 6 and 18 percent on your cooling bill. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be, so set your thermostat as high as possible during the summer months.
7. Well-planned landscaping isn’t just for aesthetics -- properly placed trees around the house can save between $100 and $250 annually.
6. On average, households lose about 20 percent of their heated and cooled air through the duct system to the outside. To avoid wasting energy, have your ducts inspected to ensure they’re sealed properly and insulated if necessary.
5. If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Just make sure to turn it off when you leave the room (fans cool people, not rooms).
4. Heating water can account for 14 to 25 percent of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) and save energy (and avoid a surprise faucet-scalding).
3. By using the microwave, toaster or a counter-top grill rather than an oven, you’ll use less energy and avoid excess heat that increases room temperature.
2. Leaving a computer on all day can cost about 21 cents per day, or about $75 per year. Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use – a task made easier by using multiple-outlet strips, which can turn everything off with the flip of a switch.
1. Programmable thermostats can save up to $150 a year on energy costs when used properly. Use one that can automatically turn off your cooling system when you are not home, and turn your system on in time for you to arrive home to a cooled house.