Use plain fiberglass filters. Thicker and ribbed filters restrict air flow and cause the system to work harder. Derrick says homeowners who are worried about allergens are better off using an air purifier
Keep water heater at 120 degrees or below. And drain it once a year to get rid of sediment build-up so it runs properly. You don't have to drain all the water. Two to five gallons should be sufficient. If the water heater feels hot to the touch, it probably needs to be insulated by a professional. Most of the ones built after 1996 should be well insulated.
Washer and dryer
Wash clothes in cold water when possible, and if you are doing multiple loads, try to dry them back-to-back so you use the leftover heat that's in the dryer. Monitor the dryer's exhaust hose for kinks and holes. Lint build-up in the hose indicates holes. Energy saving appliances also are recommended.
Don't use the heated drying option when you can avoid it. It's best to let dishes air dry or dry them by hand. The heating element in a dishwasher is a big energy user.
A programmable thermostat can be a benefit if you are on a regular schedule and will use it. But if you usually remember to change it when you leave the house, you should be fine with a regular one. Keep it set on 78 or higher in the summer and 68 or lower in the winter. Your thermostat also can be tested to see if it is giving you an accurate reading.
Fans should be used for very short periods. If left on, they only suck the conditioned air out of the house.
To get a free audit
SCE&G customers can go to www.sceg.com, click on "save energy and money" and then "in-home energy consultation." Download the questionnaire and follow the directions for sending it in. For those without Internet access, call (800) 251-7234.