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How to Boost Your Appliances' Efficiency

Whole Living, April 2011

Cost: Low (less than $100)

Commitment: Medium

Green Impact: 4 out of 5

Quick tune-ups for your home's biggest energy suckers can save more than a thousand pounds of carbon and a hundred dollars a year.

Water Heater

  • Set the thermostat to 120 degrees instead of the standard 130 to 140 degrees.
  • If the tank is warm to the touch, wrap it in an insulating blanket (sold at most home improvement stores).


  • If it's an older model, vacuum the coils (usually located either in the back or underneath, behind a removable plate), and dislodge caked grease with a stiff brush.
  • Keep the fridge at 36 to 38 degrees and the freezer at 3 degrees.
  • Make sure the door seal is tight. If a dollar bill can slip through the rubber gasket, replace it.
  • Remove clutter from the top of the fridge, and position it away from the stove or radiator.


  • Dry loads in succession to take advantage of residual heat, and make sure loads are always full.
  • Clean the lint trap after each load.

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