5 On Your Side

Thermostat settings, toaster oven and spin cycle can help lower energy bills

Posted July 27, 2020 4:10 p.m. EDT
Updated July 27, 2020 6:15 p.m. EDT

— Homes are working overtime right now. Owners are home more, cooking more, doing more dishes and running the air conditioner. It adds up, and the power bill reflects it.

5 On Your Side says small tweaks to your routine can help.

"Adjusting your thermostat settings is actually one of the simplest and most significant things you can do to keep your energy bills under control," said Dan Wroclawski, Consumer Reports' Home Editor.


Each degree you raise the thermostat saves 1%. If you go from 70° to 75°, you could save 5% on your monthly bill.

Programmable or smart thermostats can help.

CR named the Honeywell Home model RTH8560D, a best buy at $90.

"Some other smart thermostats can actually adjust your temperature settings based on your activity and behavior," said Wroclowski.

CR likes the Nest Thermostat E for about $140.

"Some smart thermostats also offer wireless temperature sensors that detect motion in a room," said Wroclowski. "That allows you to heat or cool a room when it's only being used."

To ease costs in the kitchen, when possible use a toaster oven or microwave instead of the oven.

To save water, skip pre-rinsing, simply scrape off food before loading the dishwasher. Many newer dishwashers actually clean better that way.

And save a little with laundry by using the highest spin setting available. It removes more moisture and helps shorten dry times.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.