Scrape dishes, don’t rinse them
Rinsing dishes before you put them in the dishwasher wastes water and the energy used to heat it. New dishwashers clean better, eliminating the need for pre-rinsing unless food is baked or dried onto plates or pans.
Use your dishwasher’s energy saver feature or air-dry your dishes
Modern dishwashers allow you to turn off the heated drying cycle. Doing so halves the energy used for a load of dishes. If this energy-saving feature is absent, stop the machine during the cycle after the final rinse, and open the door partway to air-dry the dishes.
Run the dishwasher only when it’s full
A dishwasher consumes the same amount of energy to wash one dish as to wash a full load, so fill the dishwasher before running it. However, do not overfill. Dishes stacked too close together shield each other from the water spray inside the dishwasher and are likely to remain soiled when the washer stops.
Run only full loads of laundry
It is more cost-effective to wash one full load than two small ones. If you have to run a small load, set the water level appropriately
Wash clothes in cooler water
Up to 85 percent of the cost of operating a washing machine comes from heating the water. Cut that energy use in half by switching the temperature control from hot to warm. For even greater savings, wash in cold water. Today’s cold water detergents make hot water unnecessary except when dealing with stubborn grease stains.
Take advantage of your clothes dryer’s auto-dry cycle
Many dryers – gas and electric – have moisture sensors that detect when the clothes are dry and turn off the appliance. This auto-dry feature prevents over drying your clothes, which not only increases your utility bill unnecessarily, but is rough on clothing as well.
In sunny weather, hang wet laundry on a clothesline
Letting your clothes air-dry adds absolutely nothing to your utility bills.
Dry lightweight items separately
Socks, underwear, and the like will take less time to dry if you separate them from towels and other water-absorbent items. You save money even though you run the dryer twice.
Remove clothes from the dryer promptly to minimize ironing
Shake your clothes out when they are still warm from the dryer and slightly damp, and then hang them up. This simple step eliminates the need to iron most of them, saving time, effort, and money.
Dry multiple loads back-to-back
If you are washing more than one load of clothes, dry them one right after another to take advantage of the heat already built up in the dryer.
Plug the water basin when washing up or shaving
You can save a gallon of hot water each time you wash your hands and face or shave if you close the wash-basin drain and run only the hot water you need. Empty the basin when you’re finished soaping and refill with warm water for a quick rinse. The hot water savings can add up to 50 or more gallons per person every month. For a family of four, that comes to about 2,500 gallons a year.
Air-dry your hair
A 1500 watt hair dryer uses 375 watt-hours of power every 15 minutes. Save money by letting your hair dry naturally.
Shower, don’t bathe
A bathtub half-full of hot water holds at least 10 gallons more than the 15 gallons you use for a 5 minute shower. A family of four showering daily instead of bathing can save the cost of heating as much as 200 gallons of water every week.
Take shorter showers
Every minute that you trim from a shower saves the cost of heating about 3 gallons of water. For real economy, take a “Navy shower”. Wet yourself and a washcloth thoroughly, and then turn off the water while you shampoo and lather yourself clean. Turn the water off again to rinse. Most water-saving showerheads today have a convenient turn on/off knob, eliminating the need to readjust the water temperature.
Turn the kitchen faucet to cold
When using small amounts of water, keep the lever on the kitchen faucet set to COLD, especially when hot water has not recently made the trip from the heater to the faucet. In this situation, moving the lever to HOT let hot water enter the supply line even though the hot water never reaches the faucet and the water heater must warm the cold water that replenishes the tank.
Save money with the water heater built into your dishwasher
The appliance that typically requires the hottest water in the house is the dishwasher at 140 degrees. If your dishwasher has its own built-in heater – and most modern dishwashers do – you can reset the household water heater thermostat to 120 degrees. Heat controls on water heaters are often inaccurate, so measure the temperature with a cooking thermometer and adjust the thermostat as necessary.
This idea won’t work if you have a water heater that’s too small for your requirements. Then it will pay to keep the water temperature higher, lowering it with cold water as needed for laundry, showers, and washing dishes.
Rely more on your dishwasher to save hot water
Not only do automatic dishwashers clean dishes and flatware more thoroughly than hand washing, they can save 6 or more gallons of hot water per load compared to washing the same dishes by hand. If you run the dishwasher once a day, you can save the cost of heating more than 2,000 gallons of hot water a year.