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Step One

Make a list of systems and appliances.
To understand where your utility dollars are going, you first need to make a list of the most energy-consuming devices in your home.

  • The largest part of virtually everyone's energy consumption is spent heating or cooling their home. So, put the heating cooling system (if you have a air-cooling system) at the top of your list.
  • Now add any other products to the list that use a great deal of energy. These almost certainly include a hot water heater, a stove and a refrigerator. If you use a portable room heater, freezer, microwave, or dishwasher, include these on your list. Don't forget the clothes washer or dryer, if you have these items.
  • If you own any of the following, add it to your list: an aquarium, autoblock heater, dehumidifier and humidifier, furnace fan, hot tub, water bed heater, well pump, computer color monitor or laser printer. Older color televisions with an instant-on feature also use a lot of energy. Not all households have these, and their inclusion to this list may seem petty. But they begin to add up, and together they consume more energy than their owners might expect.

Btu: British thermal unit—the standard unit by which natural gas use is measured.

EnergyGuide: Federal law now requires manufacturers to place yellow EnergyGuide labels on most home appliances. These labels offer consumers information on how appliances rated in standardized tests of their energy efficiency. They compare the energy use of a particular model with others. Many also estimate an appliance's yearly operating cost.

Kilowatt-hour: the standard unit by which electrical usage is measured.

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