Energy Saving Tips

We’re all interested in how to save energy and lower our bills. When you buy new appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR® label that certifies that the appliance meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) energy efficiency guidelines. Here are some other handy ways you can save energy around your home.

NOTE: Check with your utility company to find out if they have green energy programs, through which you can purchase power from clean, renewable sources.

Conserve Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling Costs

There are some simple things you can do around your home to lower your heating, ventilation, and cooling bills. Here are a few of them.

  • Leave at least 90% of air vents open to balance air pressure
  • Clean debris and vegetation from elements
  • Inspect air ducts annually
  • Replace air conditioner filters monthly
  • Set your air conditioner to "Auto"—not "On"
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat
  • Close windows, doors, pet doors, and fireplace dampers when not in use
  • Inspect basement and attic insulation often
  • Make sure weather stripping, caulking, and gaskets are intact

Lower Summer Cooling Costs

In summer, you want to keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside. Here are some simple tips to help you.

  • Shade windows on sunny exposures with plants, awnings, draperies, and so forth
  • Change evaporative cooler pads each spring
  • Set the thermostat to 78–80°F if at home
  • Raise the thermostat to 85°F when away
  • Set ceiling fans to blow downward
  • Refrain from doing heat-generating chores during the day
  • Don’t run refrigerators in hot garages or on the patio

Lower Winter Heating Costs

In winter, do what you can to reduce heating costs. Here are a couple of ways.

  • Set the thermostat to 68°F or lower while at home
  • Lower the thermostat to 65°F or lower when away
  • Set ceiling fans to blow upward at a low speed

Reduce Lighting Costs

Lighting enhances our homes and keeps us from working in the dark. Where would we be without lighting? Here are some tips to help reduce your utility bill.

  • Replace standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFL)
  • Replace fluorescent lamps with energy-saving T-8 fluorescent lamps
  • Turn lights off when leaving the room
  • Check for local rebates for purchasing energy-efficient lighting

Reduce Electricity Used by Electronics and Appliances

Maybe you don’t worry about the small amount of electricity your computer or lights use. But if you add up all of the little drains on energy each day, they really do affect your bill.

  • Unplug chargers when not in use
  • Set your computer to hibernate mode
  • Use power strips to turn off power at the source for:
    • Televisions
    • Home theater equipment
    • Stereos
    • Computer equipment
  • Turn off and unplug appliances and equipment when away for long periods of time

Washing Up

Using less hot water conserves energy. Newer appliances are made to be more efficient than they used to be, but there are still several ways you can cut down on energy use. Try these tips.

  • Set hot water heaters to 120°F while at home, and "Vacation" when away
  • Take short showers instead of baths
  • Use the dishwasher’s energy-saving button to air-dry dishes
  • Run the dishwasher only when fully loaded
  • Dry clothes on a line when possible
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Clean the dryer’s lint screen after each load
  • Run the washing machine with the lowest appropriate water level
  • Wash only full loads of clothes

Make Your Swimming Pool More Efficient

Your swimming pool is a source of relaxation and enjoyment. It can also consume a lot of energy. Here are some things to try.

  • Install a timer on the pool pump
  • Clean strainer baskets and filters often
  • Cut back on the hours the filter operates
  • Use a pool cover
  • Consider applying a monomolecular oil, such as HeatSavr, to the surface

Cook Efficiently

When we cook, we usually think about the meal ahead, not about saving energy. Next time you prepare dinner, keep these pointers in mind.

  • Don’t open the oven if you don’t need to
  • Use flat-bottom pots and pans
  • Match pot sizes to burner sizes
  • Cover pots with tight-fitting lids
  • Use the lowest possible heat setting
  • Use the microwave oven as much as possible
  • Choose glass baking dishes when possible

Get the Most From the Refrigerator

Refrigerators use a significant amount of energy, almost constantly, to cool and freeze your food. There are some things you can do, however, to reduce your costs.

  • Keep the refrigerator full or nearly full
  • Keep the fresh food section between 34 and 40°F
  • Keep the freezer between 0 and 5°F
  • Be sure gaskets are clean and tight
  • Clean the coils several times a year

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