helpful ways to save money and energy

helpful ways to save money and energy
The major energy users in your home—
heating system, air cond itioning, water
heater, refrigerator, dryer, lighting — all
contribute to your overall utility bill.
This brochure offers tips to help you use
them more efficiently, lower your energy
use and save money on your monthly
energy bill.
Insulate your attic floor or top floor ceiling
to a minimum of R-49. R-values indicate the
resistance of an insulation material to heat flow.
The higher the R number, the more effective
the insulating capacity. R-values appear on the
packages of insulation materials.
Don’t insulate over eave vents or on top
of recessed lighting fixtures or other heat
producing equipment on the attic floor. Also
keep insulation at least 3 inches away from the
sides of these types of fixtures.
Insulate heating and cooling ducts in unheated
or uncooled areas.
Don’t let air seep into your home through the
attic access door. Check the door to make
sure it is well insulated and weather stripped–
otherwise, you’ll be wasting fuel to heat or
cool the attic.
Test windows and doors for air tightness. Add
weather stripping and caulk where necessary.
Install storm windows. Combination screen and
storm windows (triple-track glass combination)
are the most convenient because they can be
opened easily when there’s no need to run
heating or cooling equipment.
Buy a high efficiency water heater. When you
need a new water heater, purchase a unit with
a high Energy Factor (EF) rating. EF ratings such
as those of 91 and above correspond with
greater efficiency. The higher the rating the more
efficiently the unit will operate.
Purchase the correct size heater. Consider your
family’s hot water needs. If your water heater is
too large, it uses more energy than needed. If it
is too small, you may run out of hot water.
Install your water heater near the kitchen. The
kitchen is where you use the hottest water.
When the water heater is located near the
kitchen, hot water doesn’t have to travel as far
and less heat is lost.
Install a heat loop or in-line trap. If you add
a new water heater to your home, consider
having a heat loop or in-line trap installed. These
mechanisms can be inexpensive to install and
keep hot water from moving into the piping
system when you are not using hot water. Ask
your plumbing contractor for details.
Turn down the water heater temperature dial
to 120 degrees F, or to the “warm” setting if
you have a dishwasher. Be sure to check your
manufacturer’s instructions for minimum water
Insulate the outside of your electric water heater
with an insulation blanket to reduce heat loss.
Also insulate water pipes with half-inch foam
or pipe tape for insulation wherever pipes are
exposed. On cold water pipes, insulate four to
fivefeet nearest to the water heater. If you use
a gas hot water heater, be careful not to cover
the water heater’s bottom, thermostat, burner
compartment or the flue at the top. Follow the
manufacturer’s recommendations.
Consider natural gas on-demand or tankless
water heaters, which heat water directly without
using a storage tank. You can save up to 30%
compared with a standard natural gas storage
tank water heater.
Keep your heating equipment well tuned with
periodic maintenance by a professional service
Set your thermostat at 68 degrees F during the
day and 60 degrees F at night. You can save 3
percent on your heating costs for every degree
you reduce the temperature below 70 degrees
F for the entire heating season. Special advice
to heat pump owners: heat pumps need to
stay at a constant setting unless you have a
programmable electronic heat pump thermostat
with adaptive recovery. Check with your heating
or air conditioning contractor to determine the
type of thermostat you have.
If you have a simple open-masonry fireplace,
consider installing a glass screen, a convective
grate, a radiant grate or a fireplace insert.
They’ll help cut down on the loss of warm air
through the fireplace chimney.
Close fireplace dampers, if possible, when not in
use and run your natural gas logs only when you
are in the room to enjoy them.
Make sure to have all furnaces, flues and
chimneys inspected every year by qualified
industry professionals to ensure their efficiency
and safety.
Clean or replace the filter in your forced-air
heating and cooling systems each month. Foam
filters can be rinsed with water but be sure they
are dry before replacing. Fiberglass filters need
to be replaced periodically.
Keep draperies and shades open during the day
to let the sunshine in; close them at night.
Check the duct work for air leaks about once a
year if you have a forced-air heating system. To
do this, feel around the duct joints for escaping
air when the fan is on. Relatively small leaks can
be easily repaired by covering holes or cracks
with duct tape. More stubborn problems may
require caulking as well as taping.
Weatherize your home by weather stripping or
caulking around doors and windows. This will
help keep heat from your system inside the home.
Adjust the thermostat in small degree changes –
your home won’t heat or cool faster by cranking
it up.
Consider installing a programmable thermostat.
Programmable thermostats can save up to 10%
of heating and cooling costs annually.
When leaving the house for the day, turn down
your heat setting a few degrees. This will save
energy while you are away.
Be sure the air conditioner is fully charged
with freon so it operates efficiently and
keep your cooling system well tuned with
periodic mainten­ance by a professional service
When selecting a central air conditioning unit,
be sure to choose one with the proper capacity
and highest efficiency, don’t oversize it.
Choose a central air conditioning unit or
room air conditioning unit that uses a minimal
amount of electricity to complete its task.
High Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios (SEERs)
– such as 13.0 SEER and above – correspond
with greater efficiency. Energy Efficiency Ratios
(EERs) provide the same guidance for room-air
conditioning units.
Install a whole-house ventilating fan in your attic
or in an upstairs window to help air circulate in
your home. Although not a replacement for
a central air conditioning system, a fan is an
effective way to stay comfortable on milder
days. Remember to cover and insulate it during
the winter to prevent heat loss.
Don’t set your thermostat at a colder setting
than normal when you turn your air conditioner
on. It will not cool faster, but it will cool to a
lower temperature than you need and use more
Consider using a ceiling fan with your window
air conditioner to spread the cooled air to other
rooms. But be sure the air conditioner is large
enough to help cool the additional space.
Keep lamps or television sets away from the
thermostat. Heat from these appliances is
sensed by the thermostat and could cause your
system to run longer than necessary.
No matter what kind of central air conditioning
system you have, clean the outside condenser
coil once a year. To clean, turn off the unit and
spray the coils with water at a low pressure.
High water pressure may bend the fins. Try
to spray from the top of the unit down and
Use duct tape to seal the cracks between
each section of an air duct on your central air
conditioning or forced heating system.
Keep lights low or off when not needed. Electric
lights generate heat and add to the load on
your air conditioner.
Plant shade trees strategically around your
home. Properly selected and planted shade trees
can save up to $80 annually on the average
electric bill.
Use window or whole house ventilating fans to
cool your home.
Use vents and exhaust fans to pull heat and
moisture from the attic, kitchen, bath and
laundry directly to the outside, if you don’t have
air conditioning.
When leaving the house for the day, turn up
your air setting a few degrees. This will save
energy while you are away.
Take showers rather than baths, but limit both
your showering time and the water flow to save
Install a water-flow controller in the pipe at the
showerhead. This saves a considerable amount
of hot water and the energy used to produce it.
Use low flow showerheads in all showers and
faucet aerator in the bathroom sink.
Don’t let water run while shaving or brushing
your teeth. This wastes hot water and the
energy used to heat it.
Place the washer close to the water heater
also. Water loses heat as it flows through pipes.
When the washer is located near the water
heater, hot water doesn’t have to travel as far to
reach the washer, and less heat is lost. Insulating
the pipes between the water heater and washer
helps retain heat.
Wash clothes in warm or cold water. Rinse in
cold water.
Fill washers and clothes dryers but do not
overload them.
Clean the lint screen after each load of laundry
and check the exhaust regularly. A lint screen
in need of cleaning and a clogged exhaust can
lengthen drying time and increase the amount
of energy used.
Save energy by using a clothesline. Doing so can
make clothes seem fresher and dryer than those
emerging from a dryer.
Place a dry towel in the dryer with each load
of wet clothes to absorb dampness and reduce
drying time.
Save energy needed for ironing by hanging
clothes in the bathroom while you’re bathing
or showering. By doing so you can steam some
wrinkles out and cut down on ironing time. If
possible, iron a large load of clothes at a time.
Use cold water rather than hot to operate your
food disposal. Cold water also helps get rid of
grease by solidifying it, so it can then be ground
up and washed away.
Install an aerator in your kitchen sink faucet.
Boil water in a kettle or covered pan as the
water will come to a boil faster and use less
Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean.
They will reflect heat better and you will save
Get in the habit of turning off the elements
or surface units on your electric stove several
minutes before completing the allotted cooking
time. The heating element will stay hot long
enough to finish the cooking without wasting
Turn off the oven five to 10 minutes before
cooking time is up and let trapped heat finish
the cooking and avoid opening the oven door
repeatedly to check food that is cooking. This
allows heat to escape and results in the use of
more energy to complete the cooking of your
food. Instead watch the clock or use a timer.
Don’t preheat the oven unless absolutely necessary
and then for no more than 10 minutes.
Use pressure cookers and microwave ovens if
you have them. They save energy by reducing
cooking times.
Avoid using the broiler. It is a big energy user.
Clean or replace air filters. Replace filters on
exhaust hoods, humidifiers, vacuums, etc.
Clogged filters impair performance and cause
the units to run longer and use more energy.
If you use a gas stove, keep your burners clean
to ensure maximum efficiency. Blue flames mean
good combustion; yellow flames mean service
may be needed to ensure the gas is burning
When buying a dishwasher, look for an energy­
efficient model with air power and/or overnight
dry setting. These features automatically turn
off the dishwasher after the rinse cycle. This can
save you up to 10 percent of your dishwashing
energy costs.
Don’t use the “rinse-hold” on your machine for
just a few soiled dishes. It uses three to seven
gallons of hot water each time you use it.
Clean the filter. If your dishwasher has a filter
screen, clean it regularly. A clean appliance runs
more efficiently.
Set the refrigerator thermostat at 38 degrees F
for fresh food compartments and 5 degrees F
for freezer compartment. A small thermometer
placed in the refrigerator or freezer will help
you set it correctly. Separate freezers for long
term storage should be kept at zero degrees F.
Open the refrigerator or freezer door only when
necessary and don’t hold it open any longer
than necessary.
Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators
and freezers. Frost buildup increases the amount
of energy needed to keep the refrigerator at its
proper temperature. Never allow frost to build
up more than one quarter of an inch.
Vacuum refrigerator coils at least every three
months. The dirt buildup makes the refrigerator
use more energy to keep contents cool.
If possible, don’t place your refrigerator or freezer
in direct sunlight or near the stove. Heat will
cause the unit to use more energy to stay cold.
Make sure your refrigerator door seals airtight.
Test them by closing the door on a piece of
paper or dollar bill so it is half in and half out
of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or
dollar out easily, the hinge may need adjusting
or the seal may need replacing.
If you keep a second refrigerator in your garage
or basement, keep empty space filled with
gallon water jugs. The extra storage helps to
maintain the temperature inside.
Select energy-efficient office equipment and
turn off machines when they are not in use to
result in significant energy savings.
Use an ENERGY STAR-labeled computer
which can save 30%-65% more energy than
computers without this designation, depending
on usage.
Spend large portions of time in low-power mode
to not only save energy but to help equipment
run cooler and last longer.
Put your laptop AC adapter on a power
strip that can be turned off (or will turn
off automatically) to maximize savings; the
transformer in the AC adapter draws power
continuously, even when the laptop is not
plugged into the adapter.
Use the power management settings on
computers and monitors for significant savings.
It is a common misperception that screen savers
reduce a monitor’s energy use. Use automatic
switching to sleep mode or simply turn it off.
Consider buying a laptop for your next computer
upgrade; laptops use much less energy than
desktop computers.
Use Smart Power Strips to save energy and be
able to shut down multiple items quickly.
Reduce vampire loads by using a Smart Power
Strip.Vampire loads are all of those chargers
that are plugged in but not charging anything
at the moment.Chargers use energy when not
being used, so unplug them until needed, put
computers to sleep and learn how to activate the
power management features on your computer.
Purchase a good selection of high-quality
rechargeable batteries and a charging unit.
You’ll save money in the long run and keep
hazardous materials out of our environment.
Use rechargeable batteries for products like
cordless phones and digital cameras. Studies
have shown they are more cost effective than
disposable batteries.
Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are
fully charged or the chargers are not in use.
Use compact fluorescent bulbs. They produce
about three to four times as much light per
watt as incandescent bulbs. While compact
fluorescents are initially more expensive, they
last up to 10 times longer.
Halogen bulbs are another energy efficient
choice for indoor and outdoor lighting. They use
about 25 percent less energy than traditional
incandescent bulbs and produce an intense
white light making them ideal for spot,
flood, and security lighting. Halogen torchieres,
however, can pose a fire hazard due to the high
temperatures produced by these bulbs.
Purchase holiday light strings that feature LEDs
or light-emitting diodes. LED lights use 90
percent less energy than standard incandescent
Turn off lights in any room not being used, even
if your absence will only be momentary.
When changing bulbs, use the lowest wattage
possible or convenient. In many cases a lower
wattage bulb can be substituted for the one
currently being used.
Light-zone your home and save electricity.
Concentrate lighting in reading and work areas,
and where it’s needed for safety such as in
stairwells. Reduce lighting in other areas, but
avoid very sharp contrasts.
Consider installing solid-state dimmers. They
make it easy to save energy by reducing the
lighting intensity in a room.
Use one large bulb instead of several small ones
in areas where bright light is needed.
Turn on outdoor lights only when needed and
install lights with motion detectors so they come
on only when needed.
Use timers, motion detectors, heat sensors or
photocell controls for light fixtures when possible.
Removing one light bulb from your garage door
opener is a creative energy saving tip.
These tips are some of the top tips that we provide to our
customers. These tips are derived from experience within
the energy industry as well as from various resources such as and We continuously seek
new tips to pass along to our customers for saving money and
energy. Caution: The elderly, infants and persons with circulatory
problems may require higher indoor temperatures (above 65
degrees F at all times) to avoid health problems. Please seek
the advice of your physician regarding winter and summer
thermostat settings in your home.
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