Energy Saving Tips

Reducing your energy usage is the easiest way to save money on your electric bill. Our energy saving tips will show you how to cut your energy use while staying comfortable. Click on the links above for more information.

Summer quick tips

  • Get a professional air conditioner tune-up and replace dirty filters. A well-working air conditioner can save 5-15% on cooling costs.
  • Close shades and blinds during the day to block some of the sun’s warmth.
  • Set thermostats to 76 degrees when home, and 80 degrees when away.
  • Install smart thermostats to help with temperature control. Residential and general service electric customers can qualify for up to a $75 bill credit from KU and $50 from Focus on Energy.
  • Run ceiling fans counterclockwise to create a cool breeze. Air movement can make a room feel four degrees cooler.
  • Switch out incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, which use less energy and give off less heat.
  • Only run dishwashers when full and turn off the dry cycle, allowing dishes to air dry instead.
  • Hang clothes outside to dry on a line when practical, instead of using the clothes dryer.
  • Sign up for MyAccount to manage energy use and set notification alerts for new bills and high usage trends.

Winter quick tips

  • Close window draperies at night to keep the cold at bay
  • Adjust thermostat down when away or sleeping
  • Install storm windows if feasible
  • Find and stop drafts in windows and doors

+ Cooking

  • When cooking on an electric range, use pots and pans that are properly sized to “fit” the burners. Using the right sized pot on stove burners can save about $36 annually for an electric range, or $18 for gas.
  • Cook food and boil water in a covered container whenever possible; it’s faster and uses less energy.
  • Begin cooking on a higher heat setting until liquid begins to boil. Then, lower the temperature and simmer the food until fully cooked. A fast boil doesn’t cook faster than a slow boil, but it does use more energy.
  • Turn off cook tops or ovens a few minutes before food has completed cooking. Retained heat finishes the job using less energy.
  • Use small electric pans, toaster ovens, or convection ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster or convection oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
  • Try to avoid peeking at the food you are baking in the oven. Each time you open the door, the oven temperature is lowered 25 degrees.
  • Use cold water when operating your food/waste disposal. Cold water saves energy and solidifies grease so that it will move through the drainpipes easier.
  • Place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position draws hot water even though it may never reach the faucet.

+ Home Cooling

  • Use a ceiling fan. On warm days, dialing up the thermostat by just 2 degrees and using your ceiling fan can lower air-conditioning costs by up to 14% over the course of the cooling season. Since fans only cool people, not the air, you’ll save energy and money by turning them off when you leave the room.
  • Close blinds, drapes and shades during the hottest part of the day. This keeps the strong, warm sunlight from heating up your home and adding to the air conditioner load.
  • Retire your old central air conditioner. If your central air conditioner is more than 12 years old, consider replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR qualified model. These models can reduce your cooling costs by 20 percent.
  • Set your thermostat higher in the summer. 74 degrees to 76 degrees is recommended. In cooling mode, each degree you set your thermostat above your current set point will save you about 3 percent. For convenience, install a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature while you are asleep or away from home.
  • Set your furnace fan to “auto” – Setting the fan switch on your thermostat to “on” will cause it to run all the time, whether or not your home needs heating or cooling.
  • Keep air registers and vents clear of obstructions to allow air to flow freely throughout the room.
  • Keep room air conditioner out of the sun, if possible. Room air conditioners work best when kept cool. Installing one in a north-facing wall is usually ideal.
  • If you have a pool, turn off your filter overnight when the pool is not in use.
  • Get rid of hot air. Use an exhaust fan to blow hot air out of your kitchen while you’re cooking. The savings on your cooling costs far outweigh the electricity used by the fan. Also, take lukewarm showers and baths to avoid humid air, which holds more heat.
  • Postpone laundry and dish-washing until nighttime to avoid generating extra heat in your home. Also, consider taking advantage of the warmer air and dry your laundry outside.
  • Use a dehumidifier in the warm, humid months to remove moisture from the air. A dehumidifier works best when air can circulate freely through it. Place it away from walls and bulky furniture.
  • Plant a tree. Well-placed shade trees can help reduce air conditioning costs in the summer, increase the efficiency of your air conditioner, and act as a windbreak. And, when the leaves fall off, allow warm sunlight to enter your home during the winter.
  • Air conditioners can lose up to five percent of their energy efficiency every year they go without a regular checkup. That’s why we offer a rebate to get your A/C tuned up by a professional service technician. You’ll use less energy because your air conditioner will run more efficiently.

+ Home Heating

  • Keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to naturally heat your home during the day and close them at night to retain the heat.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use to stop cold air from entering the house through the chimney.
  • Replace screens with storm windows for an extra barrier to the cold outside air. Make sure to close storm windows tightly so no air leaks in or out.
  • Cover through-the-wall air conditioners to prevent cold air from leaking into your home.
  • Set your thermostat lower in winter. In heating mode, lower your thermostat by 10 degrees for 8 hours (while asleep or away from home) to save on our heating bill. For convenience, install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature depending on the time of day and day of week.
  • Set your furnace fan to “auto” – Setting the fan switch on your thermostat to “on” will cause it to run all the time, whether or not your home needs heating or cooling.
  • Use your ceiling fan clockwise.  In the winter months, your fan should run in reverse (clockwise) at a low speed. This will gently draw the room air up towards the ceiling and force the warm air down and out towards the walls, avoiding giving you the wind chill effect.
  • Insulating and air sealing are two cost effective ways to improve energy efficiency, lower your utility bill and help you stay warm and comfortable. Reducing air leaks alone could cut 10 percent from the average household’s energy bill. When correctly installed in a home that has been air sealed, insulation can help you achieve both comfort and energy savings during the hottest and coldest times of the year. To find out if your home is need of insulation and/or air sealing, contact Focus on Energy ( or 800-762-7077) about a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR evaluation.
  • Don’t block your radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies. Keep your radiators, registers and baseboard heaters dirt and dust free.
  • Maintain or replace your heating system – Schedule yearly maintenance with a qualified contractor and replace furnace filters monthly or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use kitchen and bath ventilating fans wisely. Turn these fans off as soon as they are no longer needed. In about one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed air.
  • Evergreens on the north side of your house can provide shelter against cold winds and can lower your heating bill. If you plant in the fall, make sure you plant a tree with a root ball to ensure it survives the winter.
  • Weatherize your home by caulking and weather-stripping around doors and windows.

+ Kitchen Appliances


  • Run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load. Running a half-filled dishwasher twice uses two times as much energy as running a full load once.
  • Scrape dirty dishes, don’t rinse. Rinsing dirty dishes before loading your dishwasher uses a lot of water and energy. Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed, off — the wash cycle and detergent take care of the rest.
  • Utilize your dishwasher’s energy-saving settings such as the no heat drying cycle.
  • Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature (120° F).
  • Avoid using the “rinse hold” on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3-7 gallons of hot water each use.


  • Check the seals on your refrigerator door to make sure they are clean and tight. Your refrigerator accounts for up to 11 percent of your household’s total energy use, which can have a major impact on your energy bill.
  • Check temperature settings. Recommended temperatures are 37°-40°F for the fresh food compartment and 5° F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0° F.
  • Arrange items in your refrigerator for quick removal and return. The longer the door is open, the longer the refrigerator compressor runs.
  • Dust and pet hair can build up on your refrigerator condenser coils, causing the motor to work harder and use more electricity. Make sure the coils are cleaned so that air can circulate freely.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
  • Regularly defrost manual-defrost freezers and refrigerators; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Don’t allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.
  • Recycle that second refrigerator or freezer in the garage/basement. It could be increasing your electric bill by more than $100 every year. Focus on Energy offers to recycle your old refrigerator and freezer. It’s quick and convenient.

Other kitchen appliances

  • Install an ENERGY STAR qualified kitchen range hood to help control moisture and remove odors from cooking. ENERGY STAR qualified ventilation fans use 60% less energy on average than standard models.

+ Laundry

Clothes washers

  • Wash and dry full loads. Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year.
  • If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
  • Doing full loads of laundry in the washer saves both energy and water. Sort and organize your laundry so that you will be doing full loads. Be careful not to overload the washer. Your clothes may not get fully clean and may need to be washed again.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible. Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes — only 10 percent goes to electricity used by the washer motor. Depending on the clothes and local water quality (hardness), many homeowners can effectively do laundry exclusively with cold water, using cold water laundry detergents. Switching to cold water will save your energy spend because heating water is considered energy intensive especially if you have an electric water heater.


  • In your dryer, don’t over dry clothes. Besides using more energy than is needed, over drying is hard on fabrics. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
  • Clean the dryer’s lint filter after every load to improve air circulation and prevent fire hazards.
  • Periodically, use the long nozzle tip on your vacuum cleaner to remove the lint that collects below the lint screen in the lint screen slot of your clothes dryer.
  • Also remember to inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material — not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the heat remaining in the dryer.
  • Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.

+ Lighting

  • Turn off lights. Turn off lights when not in use, even for short periods of time. Turning lights off and on uses less energy than if they are left on all the time.
  • Install a timer on outdoor lights. Use timers to turn lights on and off to help regulate use. To assure only dusk-to-dawn operation of your outdoor lights, control your fixtures with a photocell or a timer.
  • You can cut your electric bill if you replace the standard bulbs in your frequently used light fixtures with ENERGY STAR qualified Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs and always remember to recycle or properly dispose of your old bulbs. LED lights use 10 times less energy and last 50 times longer than traditional incandescent lights.
  • Consider using task lighting (lighting directed at a specific area) instead of overhead or general lighting, which may light unused areas of the room. By limiting lighting only to areas where it is needed, savings in the cost of bulbs and energy can be made.
  • Use natural lighting. Open curtains and shades during the day instead of using lighting. Consider skylights and solar tubes during remodeling or new construction design. This allows the maximum use of natural daylight.
  • Kitchen fixtures are some of the most used light fixtures in a home. ENERGY STAR qualified LED lighting fixtures are available in popular styles that may be just right for your kitchen, such as cabinet-mounted, ceiling-mounted, and recessed can models. LED qualified lighting provides bright, warm light while using 75% less energy, generating 75% less heat and lasting up to 10 times longer than standard lighting.

+ Water Heating

  • Repair leaky faucets. Hot water leaking at a rate of 1 drip per second can waste up to 1,661 gallons of water over the course of a year, and waste up to $35 in electricity or in natural gas. Fixing drips is a cost-effective and easy way to save energy.
  • Install low-flow aerators and fixtures. An average family can save as much as $50 to $75 per year on water and sewer bills by switching to low-flow shower heads and low-flush toilets.
  • Turn off the faucet. To save water, be sure to turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, shaving, or rinsing dishes by hand.
  • Wash only full loads. Your clothes washer and dishwasher use about the same amount of water whether you wash a full load, or just one item.
  • Purchase the correct size water heater. Consider the hot water needs of your family. If your water heater is too large, you will waste energy; if it is too small, you will likely run out of hot water.
  • Set the water thermostat to 120 degrees. With every 10-degree reduction in water temperature, you can save 3 to 5 percent in water-heating costs.
  • If the doors to the closet that houses your hot water heater have louvers or grills, do not cover or set anything in front of them.
  • Wrapping a fiberglass blanket around your electric water heater and securing it with duct tape, or installing a ready-made insulation kit can help on water heating costs. (Note: Most new water heaters are already insulated, so this tip is most effective for electric water heaters that are more than five years old.)
  • Insulate water pipes. Use half-inch foam or pipe tape for insulation wherever pipes are exposed. On cold water pipes, insulate four to five feet nearest to the water heater.


Water Saving Tips

The American Water Works Association recommends the following steps to help conserve water:

  • Don’t over water your lawn. Only water every three to five days in the summer and 10 to 14 days in the winter.
  • To prevent water loss from evaporation, don’t water your lawn during the hottest part of the day or when it is windy.
  • Only run the dishwasher and clothes washer when they are fully loaded.
  • Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator or in the microwave instead of running water over it.
  • When washing dishes by hand, use two basins – one for washing and one for rinsing rather than let the water run.
  • Use a broom, rather than a hose, to clean sidewalks and driveways.
  • If you have a swimming pool, get a cover. You’ll cut the loss of water by evaporation by 90 percent.
  • Repair dripping faucets and leaky toilets. Dripping faucets can waste about 2,000 gallons of water each year. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day.
  • More water conservation tips at