energy-saving ideas from the experts

energy-saving ideas from the experts
Making a few minor adjustments can make a big difference in the amount of energy you use. By dressing
appropriately for the weather, sealing your house, and using appliances wisely, you can cut energy costs
and increase comfort for you and your family.
Weatherize your home
Most of the energy-saving ideas
provided here will cost you very
little; many of them are free. Give
them a try and enjoy the savings.
For more energy-saving tips,
request a copy of our
More Comfort, Less Energy guide at
• Weatherstrip and/or caulk around windows
and door frames; seal bypasses.
• Insulate shades or drapes or hang liners
behind drapes.
• Insulate attic floor in the range of R-30 to R-44.
• Provide adequate ventilation for air
circulation in your attic.
• Keep fireplace damper closed when not in
use. Close doors and heat ducts to unused
• Plant trees for a windbreak and
sun protection.
• Keep doors to unheated areas (garage or
attic) closed.
Tips for keeping cool
• Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans
• In summer, shade windows from direct sun
with awnings and trees. Apply tinted plastic
film to windows to reduce solar heat gain and
reduce work for air conditioner.
• Plug cold air leaks around permanent window
air conditioners. If grille plate is removable,
tuck in cloth or plastic to shut off drafts;
be sure to remove before turning unit on.
• Keep cooling system clean, including
filters, fans, ducts, vents and thermostats.
Clean or change filter monthly during cooling
season. Keep condensation drain open.
Do not block circulation of air from vents
or cold air returns with furniture or drapes.
• Wear several layers of medium weight
clothes versus one heavy layer.
• Keep outdoor cooling unit clean; remove
leaves and debris. Clean exposed coils with
garden hose.
Tips for keeping warm
Follow manufacturer’s recommendation for
proper maintenance of your heating system,
or follow these instructions:
Forced air furnace
• Check flue pipes for signs of rust, corrosion
or holes.
• Check filters monthly and change as needed.
Using appliances wisely
Range, oven or broiler
• Preheat oven five to ten minutes for pastries
and foods that rise, such as cakes and
breads. It is not necessary to preheat for
meats and casseroles.
• Gas broiling is smokeless; broil with
the door closed. Infra-red broilers do not
need preheating.
• Bake multiple recipes and freeze extras for
later use.
• Avoid opening oven door; you could lose up
to 50 F.
• Check ducts and repair leaks or separations;
insulate if in an unheated area.
• Never use oven to warm the kitchen; it
was not designed for space heating and
could be damaged.
Other tips
Range burners
• Keep thermostat set at 65 to 68 F during
the day and 58 F at night or when you will be
gone four hours or more. Set at 55 F during
winter vacations or long periods
away from home.
• Cook on HIGH only when necessary. When
food begins to boil, lower flame to smallest
needed to maintain a gentle boil.
• Keep furniture or other obstructions away
from forced air vents.
• Open shades or drapes to let the sun warm
the house. Other times, keep window
coverings closed to keep cold air out.
• Fit flame to pan size; cover pans whenever
possible and cook foods in least amount of
water necessary.
• If burner flame is yellow, ports (holes)
and/or grates may need cleaning.
Washer and dryer
• Use to heat small quantities of food
(up to 2 cups).
• When convenient, wash and dry full loads.
• Clean dryer lint screen after each load.
Dry fabrics only as much as necessary and
run consecutive loads when possible.
• Allow space around unit for good air
• Set at highest temperature that will keep
food from spoiling: 40 F for refrigerator,
0 F for freezer.
• Vent dryer to outside.
• Check refrigerator door seal; replace if
necessary. Open and close door as little as
possible, especially during hot weather.
• Use “automatic cycle” if your dryer has one.
When replacing dryer, consider a large
capacity model.
• Wash only full loads; see owner’s manual
on loading.
• Scrape dishes but do not rinse; keep filter
screen clean.
• Shut off dishwasher before drying cycle.
Open door and let dishes air dry, or use
energy-saver air-dry option, if possible.
• Use proper amount of detergent. Too much
or too little reduces efficiency.
Water heater
• Insulate hot water pipes that run through
cold areas.
• Drain a few pails of water from faucet of
new water heaters each month to remove
sediment. NOTE: If your water heater is
an older model that has not been drained
regularly, the build-up of sediment may
be too much to drain.
• Set your water heater to 120 F. Today’s
dishwashers typically have booster water
heaters to further heat water to the higher
temperatures needed for dishwashing.
• Fix leaky faucets or toilet tanks. A small
leak can waste as much as 3,280 gallons
of water a year.
• Avoid long showers and full tub baths.
• Install a controlled-flow showerhead to
reduce hot water use.
• Run garbage disposal with cold water.
For more information about
efficient natural gas appliances,
©2007 CenterPoint Energy CO-71809
• Use cold water rinse whenever possible.
• Separate lightweight fabrics from
heavyweight fabrics.
Additional energy savers
• Turn off lights and TV in unoccupied rooms.
• Keep light bulbs clean; even a film of dust
reduces efficiency. Fluorescent bulbs use
less energy than incandescent bulbs, give
more light, and last longer.
• Use less electricity during peak hours
(4 to 8 p.m.) when possible.
• Check EnergyGuide labels when shopping
for new appliances. Improved design and
materials make new major appliances much
more efficient.
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