Using less energy helps you save money, conserve natural resources and reduce power plant emissions. We’ll all benefit from a more energy-efficient world and a cleaner environment. Reducing energy use can be as simple as turning off lights when you leave a room. How you use appliances has an even larger impact on your energy use and your energy bill. This guide includes lists of the easiest and most effective ways to save money and energy around your home.

1. Keep Your Furnace Filter Clean

Dirty filters reduce airflow making your furnace work harder and use more energy. Replace your furnace filter monthly, and you could reduce heating costs by 5 percent.

2. Open Inside Doors To Improve Air Circulation

Keep the doors inside your home open to improve air circulation and the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems.

3. Use Ventilation Fans Only As Needed

Don’t forget to turn off a kitchen or bathroom ventilation fan. In just an hour, all the heated air in your home can be drawn out through an exhaust vent.

4. Lower Your Thermostat Setting during the heating season

Reduce indoor thermostat temperature from 72 to 68 degrees during the heating season to save 5 percent on heating costs.

5. Raise Your Thermostat Setting during the summer

You can save approximately $100 in a summer by raising your thermostat’s temperature from 72 to 78 degrees.

6. Use Ceiling Fans To Cool Your House

The most efficient ceiling fans cost as little as 30 cents a month if used eight hours a day. A window air conditioner can cost 50 times as much as a fan. Ceiling fans will keep the air moving and allow you to keep the thermostat setting higher because moving air feels cooler.

7. Open Windows On Cool Nights

On cool days and nights, turn off your air conditioner and open your windows. Don’t open windows when the outside temperature is warmer than the inside of your house.

8. Keep Air Conditioner Coils Dust-Free

Keep the coils of your central air conditioner and/or window AC unit free of dust and dirt to increase efficiency and lifetime use. Coils are usually on the back of window AC units.

9. Take A Short Shower Instead Of A Bath

Every minute you cut from your shower time saves three gallons of water and the energy used to heat the water. You’ll save hundreds of gallons of water a year taking showers over baths, and you’ll save the energy to heat all that wasted water.

10. Clean Your Refrigerator Coils

Once a year, pull out your refrigerator and clean or dust the coils located on the back of the refrigerator. Clean coils help the compressor cool faster and run less frequently, which extends the life of your refrigerator and reduces energy use.

11. Cover Refrigerated Foods

Covered foods reduce power consumption by limiting moisture evaporation into the air. Moist air takes more energy to cool than dry air, forcing the compressor to work harder. Plus, your refrigerator will smell better.

12. Set Your Refrigerator At The Right Temperature

Your refrigerator temperature should be set between 34 and 37 degrees and your freezer at 5 degrees.

Not only are these the safest temperatures for food storage, but most refrigerators are manufactured to operate most efficiently at these settings.

13. Keep Oven Door Closed

Every time you open the oven door, the oven temperature can drop 25 degrees. Use the oven light or a timer to avoid wasting energy.

14. Defrost Food Before Cooking And Pre-Heat Only For Baking

Save 30 percent to 50 percent on cooking costs by defrosting your food before cooking—your food will cook faster. Pre-heating is important for baking, but if you’re re-heating a casserole or cooking a roast, pre-heating isn’t necessary.

15. Use Lids And Turn Off Electric Burners Early

Use lids to trap steam and help food cook faster. If you’re cooking with an electric range, you can turn off the burners a few minutes early because the burners retain heat.

16. Use Small Appliances

Use an electric skillet, broiler oven, or toaster oven instead of your conventional oven for cooking and baking small quantities. These may use just half the energy.

17. Use Heat-Producing Appliances When It’s Cooler

To keep your home cooler during summer, use heat-producing appliances at cooler times of the day, such as early morning and at night. On warm days, instead of using your range or oven, use your toaster oven, microwave and outdoor grill to keep your home cool and use less energy.

18. Run Your Dishwasher Only When It’s Full

Get in the habit of running your dishwasher only when it’s full to maximize energy use.

19. Scrape, Don’t Rinse Your Dishes

Scrape your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher instead of rinsing to save water and the energy needed to heat the water.

20. Air-Dry Your Dishes In The Dishwasher

Air-dry the dishes in the dishwasher or use the unit’s energy-saving features. Avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features.

21. Run Full Loads Of Laundry And Shorten Wash Cycles

Run full loads of laundry to maximize energy and water use. In addition, most loads require only an eight- to 12-minute wash cycle. Use your custom load feature to reduce wash time.

22. Wash Clothes In The Coolest Water Possible

About 80 percent of the cost to run your washer is used for heating the water. Except for all white loads, there is little benefit to washing with hot water.

23. Dry Loads Back-to-Back

Since your dryer retains heat, dry several loads in a row. You can reduce the heat level on the last load or two. Dry your lightweight items together, using a lower heat setting for less time.

24. Clean Your Dryer Filter And Exhaust Vent

Regularly clean out your dryer filter and exhaust vent. When they become clogged with lint, your dryer works harder and uses more energy.

25. Use The Auto-Dry Feature

Newer dryers have moisture sensors to determine when clothes are dry. Use this feature to avoid over-drying and reduce dry time.

26. Turn Off Lights When You Leave A Room

Every time you turn off lights when they’re not needed, you’re saving energy and money. Keeping one 75-watt bulb off for one hour per day saves $2.15 per year.

27. Install Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Bulbs Where You Can

Over the life of one CFL bulb you will save approximately $25. Just a handful around the house and you could notice a difference in your energy bills. They cost a bit more, but you’ll change them less often, and they produce little or no heat.