What You'll Learn

    Little ways to go green in your...
  5. Entry, Basement & Laundry
  6. Living Area
9. Take your fridge's temperature. Stick an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of your refrigerator, or between frozen goods in the freezer, overnight. Your fridge temp should be between 37 and 40 degrees F (no more, to keep bacteria at bay); your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees. If either compartment is too cold, adjust the setting, since keeping them just 10 degrees colder than necessary can boost your energy consumption by up to 25 percent.

10. Freeze your assets. Slip a dollar bill between the rubber gasket on your freezer and fridge doors and the frame, then close the door and tug on the buck. Notice any resistance? If not, the seal's not tight enough and cold air is probably leaking out, making your fridge work harder to stay cool. Try this on all four sides of the door. If necessary, call the manufacturer's service department to find out how to replace the gasket.

11. Throw a dinner party. And clear out that second fridge or freezer in the garage or basement. Then banish the appliance to the recycling center. Getting rid of either one can save you more than $200 a year, especially if it's an old, inefficient model.

12. Invite your biggest buddy over. Ask him to help you move your fridge out of direct sunlight or away from the range. The heat from either will force a refrigerator compressor to gobble up more energy than necessary. A fridge uses up to 2.5 percent more power for each degree the surrounding temperature is above 70 degrees. So moving it out of a 90-degree spot can save you as much as $70 a year. If you can't move it, at least block any sunny window with curtains and put as big a buffer as you can between it and the range.

13. Use the dishwasher. Doing a full load in your machine is far more efficient than washing the same number of dishes by hand. This is especially true if you have an Energy Star dishwasher, which requires an average of 4 gallons of water per load, compared with the 24 gallons it takes to do them in the sink. Using one will save you 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs, and 230 hours of your time each year.

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