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Energy-Efficiency and Water-Efficiency Tips for Students

Phantom device is the name given to electronics such as TVs, video game consoles, and phone chargers that still use electricity when they are off or in standby mode. We call them phantom devices because they continue to drain power and electricity when they are not being used. These devices can account for approximately 10% of a family's energy bill!

  • Did you know your TV and video game consoles drain power even when you are not using them? Don't just turn off the power button when you are done; unplug them to save even more energy. You can also ask your parents to get a smart strip and save energy automatically.
  • Unplug your charger from the wall when your phone, tablet, or portable gaming device is done charging.
  • Unplug any appliance you are not using to avoid unnecessary energy use. Need an example of an appliance you could turn off? Your laptop, radio, and even guitar amp will qualify as phantom devices.

All savings tips are derived from ENERGY STAR® and Energy.gov.

LED bulbs are a great choice to save energy and money in the long run. Plus, they stay cool to the touch.

  • Always turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Don't just replace the incandescent lights in your overhead lighting; make sure your lamps, reading lamps, and even night-lights contain energy-efficient lighting.
  • Whenever possible, use natural light from the sun to avoid using artificial lighting altogether.
  • If you frequently forget to turn off your light, make a sticker or leave yourself a note on the light switch to remind you to turn off that light!
  • Don't forget about the lights on the outside of your house. Your parent or guardian can replace older lights with LED lights and save about 10 times the energy. Not to mention, those lights will last as much as 50 times longer than incandescent lights. They are also cool to the touch, so they don't pose a fire hazard.
  • Solar lights are also great. Does your family like to leave a light on at night to brighten up your house? Instead of using house lights, buy solar lights. Solar lights get their energy from the sun during the day and light your house at night.

All savings tips are derived from ENERGY STAR® and Energy.gov.

Did you know when you save water you are also saving energy? It takes energy to heat our water, clean our water, and even get water to your home! Water is vital for our earth and our health; don't let it all wash down the drain.

  • Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth.
  • Do you help your family wash the car or water the lawn? Make sure the hose has a nozzle to prevent water from being wasted. Want to save even more water? Turn off the hose when you wash and easily save 100 gallons.
  • Only use your washing machine when there is a full load to be washed and encourage your family to do the same. Don't forget to wash clothes in cold water to save both water and energy.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway, back patio, or sidewalk.
  • Help your parent or guardian collect the water that would otherwise run down the drain while rinsing produce or waiting for the water to warm up; reuse it to water houseplants.
  • Fix a water leak and easily save 500 gallons each month! With your parent or guardian, watch faucets for drips and use the toilet leak-detector tablets from your kit. If your kit does not come with toilet leak detector tablets, you can put a couple drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak.
  • Don't forget to check for outside leaks too! Sprinklers, outside faucets, hoses, and even drip lines all have the potential to leak. Let your family know if you see something suspicious, so they can fix the leak in a hurry.
  • Take short 5-minute showers instead of baths to save energy and water.
  • Water plants when it is coolest outside. Just like watering your lawn during the hottest time of day, the water you feed the plants during the heat will evaporate. So, water first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night, and you will have healthier, happier plants and more water saved.

All savings tips are derived from ENERGY STAR® and Energy.gov.

While saving energy, you need to be sure you are staying safe as well. Energy is an amazing thing. Energy keeps us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, cooks our food, heats our water, and even powers our TVs, video games and computers. But energy is also very powerful, so staying safe is important. Read the following 8 safety tips provided by the U.S. Department of Energy:

  1. Never put your fingers or other objects into an electrical socket or outlet.
  2. Never touch broken electrical cords or ones that have wires showing.
  3. Do not yank cords to unplug them. Hold onto the plug instead.
  4. Do not touch anything plugged into electricity when you are wet or standing in water.
  5. Stay away from fallen power lines.
  6. Do not fly kites or balloons near power lines. Electricity can travel down the ropes, strings, and wires.
  7. Do not climb power poles or trees close to power lines.
  8. Stay away from concrete pad-mounted transformers. Those are the metal cabinets on concrete pads that contain electrical equipment.

All savings tips are derived from ENERGY STAR® and Energy.gov.

Are energy and water leaking out of your home? Check out these tips to learn small changes you can make around your house that will save energy and money.

  • Even if you are using the appliances in your home the most energy-efficient way possible, they could still be costing your family a lot of money to run. When it is time to buy new, encourage your parents or guardians to replace their appliances with those that have the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR-certified products use less energy and can save your family money. Your refrigerator, freezer, microwave, dishwasher, and even the washer and dryer are examples of home appliances.
  • Don't leave doors to the outside open any longer than they need to be. When you take the garbage out, take your dog for a walk, or run outside to grab the mail, make sure the door shuts behind you.
  • Are windows open in your home when the air conditioner is running? Before opening a window for fresh air, check to be sure the heater or air conditioner is in the "off" position. More energy is spent on heating and cooling than anything else in the home. Don't let all that energy leak out your windows!
  • Can you hear the wind coming in through your window even though it is shut? If you can hear the wind or feel a draft, let your parent or guardian know. They may need to use rope caulk or weather stripping around your window to keep the air from coming in or going out.
  • Make the most out of the air in your room or any room in the house with a fan! If you have a ceiling fan, it should spin to the left in summer to keep you cool. In the winter, put it in reverse and spin the fan to the right. Don't forget to turn off any fan when you leave the room.
  • Keep the vents in your home clear. It costs less energy to get warm or cool air into a room when vents are not blocked. And remind your family to change their air filters once a month to keep your heating and cooling system running efficiently.
  • Did you know for each 1-degree change in the thermostat, your family can save 5% on your home's heating and cooling costs? Imagine how much money could be saved in an entire year! Tell your parent or guardian to set the thermostat to 68°F or cooler in the winter and 78°F or hotter in the summer.
  • Open curtains and blinds on sunny winter days to let the sunshine in; keep them closed on hot summer days to keep the house cooler.
  • Make sure you clean the dryer lint trap after every load, so the dryer can run at its best. To help your family remember, you can make a sticker!
  • Nothing tastes better in the summertime than food from the grill! Encourage your family to get outside and cook on the grill. And don't forget, grilled food tastes great in the winter too.
  • Don't stare into an open refrigerator trying to decide what you would like to eat while all the cool air leaks out. Think about what you would like before opening the door. Make your selection quickly and keep the cool air where it belongs.
  • Check to see if your refrigerator door seals work properly. Get out a slip of paper, close the door on the paper, and see if you can pull it out easily. If it sticks and you have to tug to get it out, that means the door seals are working properly. If the paper pulls out, you may need new seals.
  • Last but not least, don't forget to turn off all the lights and appliances when you leave a room.

All savings tips are derived from ENERGY STAR® and Energy.gov.