Consumer Reports has a new publication entitled Complete Guide to Reducing Energy Costs. To promote the book, they’ve made twenty tips available for free online:

  1. Wash clothes in cold water. Most of the cost in running a washer is in heating the water.
  2. Hang clothes on a line.
  3. Don’t overdry your laundry. Remove clothes from the dryer while they’re still a little damp.
  4. Let the dishwasher do the work. Don’t pre-rinse dishes. (This shocks me. I always pre-rinse dishes.)
  5. Put your PC to sleep.
  6. Turn down the heat in winter. Turn down the air conditioning in summer. Especially when you’re asleep or away from home. (See also.)
  7. Don’t use a conventional fireplace.
  8. Lower the shades and raise the windows instead of using appliances to regulate temperatures.
  9. Use fans instead of an air conditioner.
  10. If you use an air conditioner, keep it well maintained.
  11. Lower the thermostat on your water heater.
  12. Think twice before turning on the oven (especially in summer). A microwave is more energy-efficient.
  13. Use the right pan for the right burner.
  14. Read the label on new appliances — seek energy-efficient models.
  15. Learn to use a crock-pot.
  16. Clean the coils on your fridge.
  17. Drive steadily, and a bit slower. Rapid acceleration and sudden braking use more fuel. So do higher speeds.
  18. Roof racks reduce fuel-efficiency.
  19. Stick with regular unless your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends premium.
  20. Don’t let your car idle or “warm up”. “With most gasoline engines, it’s more efficient to turn off the engine than to idle longer than 30 seconds.”

You can read this list, with fuller explanations, at the Consumer Reports site. You may also be interested in my previous article on how to reduce electricity costs.

A common theme among these tips is that heating things and cooling things uses a lot of energy. A recent Consumer Reports article emphasized this point: you use the most energy when you attempt to alter temperatures. Toasters, ranges, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. are all energy hogs because they heat things and cool things.

Consumer Reports is a terrific magazine for cost-conscious shoppers, full of recommendations on products, techniques, and services to save you money. I want to share more of this information, but the organization is aggressively militant about protecting perceived infringement. I don’t dare share tips or “best buys” because I’m not in a financial position to defend myself against a lawsuit.

(I am not alone. Several other bloggers have had bad experiences with the Consumers Union legal department. You’d think that if they really wanted to help consumers, they’d encourage the spread of information. This doesn’t seem to be a priority for them.)

[Consumer Reports: 20 free ways to save energy]

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