For the average Arkansas household, this could add up to $820 a year. Understanding where and how much electricity is used to power your home’s appliances and lighting will help you use energy more efficiently, reduce wasteful use and save money.

  • Clean bulbs and lampshades regularly to get all the light you’re paying for.

  • Use one bulb instead of multiple bulbs in a multi-bulb fixture whenever possible. A single 100-watt bulb produces the same amount of light as two 60-watt bulbs and uses 20 percent less energy. Remember not to exceed the wattage of the light socket.

  • Wash only full loads and use the air-dry feature on your dishwasher. This can save 15 percent or more on the energy your dishwasher uses.

  • Use smaller or lower-energy appliances when possible. A larger cooking appliance will use more energy than a smaller one. Also match the pan size to the element or burner size. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner wastes more than 40 percent of the heat produced by the burner or element.

  • Check the temperatures of your refrigerator (38 °F to 42 °F) and freezer (0 °F to 5 °F) and clean the coils annually. If the refrigerator or freezer is just 10 degrees colder than necessary, your energy consumption could be 25 percent higher.

  • Unplug unnecessary electronics and other equipment when not in use. When their energy consumption is added together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator! Suggestion: use a power strip to make it easier to turn electronics on and off.

  • Turn off lights and fans in unoccupied areas and open blinds and shades to allow natural lighting during the day. Use task or desktop lamps with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) instead of overhead lights.

  • Replace your night light with a 4-watt mini-fluorescent or 1-watt Light Emitting Diode (LED) night light.

  • Replace halogen lamps with ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent torchieres. The newer bulbs produce less heat and reduce energy costs by 60 to 80 percent.

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs. CFLs can cost several times more but last 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. With a CFL you can save an average of $30 or more in energy costs over each bulb’s lifetime. Put ENERGY STAR® qualified CFL bulbs in five locations where the light is on the longest period of time and save more than $150 dollars. Don’t forget about your exterior lights; look for CFLs rated for outdoor use. If the incandescent bulb you are replacing with a CFL is still working, save it and use it in places where lights are seldom or briefly used such as closets, attics and the garage.

  • Check the condition of your appliances, especially the refrigerator. Check that the refrigerator door is sealed tightly by trying to pull a dollar bill out of the closed door. If it removes easily then the gasket needs to be replaced.

  • A horizontal axis or front-loading washing machine is the best option to select when replacing your washing machine. These use 50 percent less energy than standard models.

  • An ENERGY STAR® labeled new refrigerator uses at least 15 percent less energy than standard models. Note: the least efficient refrigerator is a side-by-side model; through-the-door water and automatic ice makers can increase energy use by up to 20 percent. Refrigerators with freezers on the top or bottom perform about 10 to 20 percent better than side-by-side models.

  • New ENERGY STAR® dishwashers are 25 percent more efficient than standard models.

  • Your air conditioner is your home's largest "appliance." According to the EPA, if your central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR® qualified model could cut your cooling costs by 30 percent. Though the upfront cost of an ENERGY STAR® qualified central air conditioner can be more expensive, the cost difference could be paid back over time through lower energy bills.