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MORE THAN
100 WAYS TO
SAVE ON YOUR
ENERGY BILL
HELPING MICHIGAN
SAVE ENERGY.
THAT’S OUR PROMISE.
Save Money
by Saving Energy
Looking for ways to save money? We can help.
If you’re like most people, you’re already doing some things to
cut down on energy use, such as lowering the heat at night. To
help you save even more, we’ve put together this guide of more
than 100 things you can do to make your home more energy
efficient, without sacrificing your comfortable lifestyle.
It’s simple. When you use less, you’ll pay less.
Download this guide as a PDF and view these energy savings
tips at ConsumersEnergy.com/saveenergy.
29%
Heating
11%
Other
4%
Electronics
17%
Cooling
14%
Water
12%
Lighting 13%
Appliances
Home Energy and You
Heating
Home Heating
Heating your home is the largest user of
energy and offers the greatest opportunity
for savings. About 30 percent of your total
home energy budget goes for heating.
• Have your heating system tuned and inspected by
a service professional before each heating season.
Heat losses from a poorly maintained system add up
over time, sometimes at a rate of 1 percent to 2 percent a
year
• Clean or replace the furnace filter often during the heating
season. Furnaces use less energy if they “breathe” more easily.
Follow instructions in the furnace manufacturer’s manual
• Keep furniture, carpeting and curtains from blocking heat
registers and air return ducts
• If radiators are located near cold outside walls, place a sheet of
aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat
back into the room
• Don’t overheat your home and overwork your furnace. Use
supplemental heating equipment for hard-to-heat areas
• When replacing your furnace, look for one that’s at least
90 percent efficient
• While sleeping, add an extra blanket for warmth
Source: EnergyStar.gov
As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to
heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your
home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system
can have a big effect on your utility bills – and your comfort.
• Close your attic, basement, garage and exterior doors to
prevent cold drafts and keep in heat
• Ceiling fans set at slow speed push warm air away from the
ceiling and move it around the room without creating a
chilling breeze. This spreads the heat more evenly and will
make you feel more comfortable
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY 3
Your Home Thermostat
A programable thermostat is a great
way to dial in savings and comfort.
• A setback or programmable thermostat
lets you automatically turn your heat up
before you get out of bed, down when you
leave for work, up before you return from
work and down again when you go to bed.
Installing one before the heating season begins
could save as much as 20 percent on your heating costs and
recover your investment in the first year.
REMEMBER:
• Turn down the heat. You’ll typically
Warmer temperatures
save 1 percent to 3 percent on your
are recommended for
heating costs for every degree you dial
homes with ill or elderly
down
persons or infants.
• Set your thermostat at 68 degrees when
you’re home and at 65 degrees when you’re away for a short
time. If you’re used to higher settings, dial down 1 degree at a
time until you feel comfortable
• Lower your thermostat to 58 degrees if you’re away from home
five hours or more. You use much less energy to heat the house
up when you return than to keep it heated while you’re away
• Make sure your central air conditioning system is the right
size for the area you want to cool
• Clean the filter regularly. Dusty filters make your air
conditioner work harder. Check the manufacturer’s manual
More ways to stay cool
• Cool air from your window air conditioner can flow into open
registers. Cover or close them so cool air doesn’t escape
• Don’t cool unused areas. Close doors and registers to cut
energy costs
• Operate your stove, oven, dishwasher and clothes dryer in the
morning or evening when it’s cooler outside. They add extra
heat to your home and make your air conditioner work harder
• Set the air conditioning thermostat at 78 degrees during the
day when you’re home and higher when you’re away
• Install an automatic setback or programmable thermostat that
starts your air conditioner shortly before you get home
• Reduce air conditioning needs by installing an attic fan. Hot
air trapped in stuffy attics sinks into rooms below, adding to
your summer cooling costs
• A ceiling fan cools fast and costs less than air conditioning
Cooling
Water Heater
Beat the summer heat and stay
comfortable with these energy
savers.
Water heating is a typical family’s thirdlargest energy expense, accounting for
about 14 percent of utility bills.
• Buy an air conditioner with a high
energy efficiency rating (EER). It’s printed
on the EnergyGuide label attached to the
unit. A unit with an EER of 10 will cost half as
much to operate as one with an EER of 5
• Take a shower instead of a bath. You’ll use less
hot water
• If you have central air conditioning, clean leaves and debris
from the unit. To save energy, make sure they’re not too close
to the compressor because they can block airflow
• Install a low-flow aerator or flow restrictor on an
existing shower head, and you’ll use less water when it
seems like more! Both are inexpensive and easy to install—just
screw them in
• Put an insulating blanket around your water heater. It holds
heat in
• Install your air conditioner in the shade. When it’s in direct
sunlight, it uses more energy
4
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY 5
• Set your water heater temperature at 120 degrees. A family of
four, each showering for five minutes, uses about 700 gallons
of water a week. By lowering the thermostat, you can cut water
heating bills without sacrificing comfort
• Turn off hot water when you don’t need it. Don’t let it run
when you wash or shave
• Save even more by setting your water
heater to “on vacation” (if your unit has
this feature) when you’re away from home
more than two days
• Fix defective plumbing or dripping
faucets. A single dripping hot water faucet
can waste 212 gallons of water a month.
That can increase your water bill and your
energy bill
• Keep your hot water hot by making sure
pipes in unheated areas are insulated
• Avoid using your dishwasher to warm plates. The extra heat
will raise your energy bill
• A dishwasher will operate more efficiently if you unclog the
drain of food particles and clean it weekly
Stove and Oven
You can cook delicious and nutritious meals
and help lower energy costs by following
these handy tips.
YOUR MONTHLY
ENERGY USE:
Your monthly bill from
Consumers Energy
includes 13 months
of your energy use
and cost per day.
• Always use cold water when it will do the job as well as hot
• Once a year, drain the water heater tank completely. Then
turn the incoming water on and off, alternately, for about
20 seconds. These actions flush minerals and sediment from
inside the tank and make your water heater more efficient.
Some newer models are selfcleaning. Check the manufacturer’s
manual
• Thaw foods and cut vegetables into small pieces.
They’ll take less time to cook
• Put lids on pots and pans and make sure they’re the
right size for the burners. Foods will cook faster and
use less energy
• When the pot boils over or grease splatters, clean the reflector
pans. They’ll reflect more heat when they shine
• If the flames on your gas stove or oven are yellow, energy is
being wasted and the burners need adjusting. Call an
appliance repair professional
When using your oven, follow these suggestions.
• Preheat the oven only when the recipe calls for it. Don’t
preheat if you’re using the broiler
• Use glass and ceramic dishes. They hold heat better and you
can lower the oven temperature 25 degrees
Dishwasher
Your dishwasher uses hot water to
do its job. Here are ways to save on
water heating.
• Your stove or oven may not always be the best choice! Small
appliances, such as crockpots and electric frying pans, and
your microwave oven may be more energy efficient
• Set your dishwasher at 120 degrees or
“low.” Check your manufacturer’s manual
to see if you can use 120 degree water
• Open the oven door to peek at food inside, and you’ll lose
25 degrees to 75 degrees of heat. It’s best to look through the
window or wait until the food is almost done before opening
the door
• Wash only full loads and use the shortest cycle to
get your dishes clean
• Turn off the dishwasher after the wash and rinse cycles. When
dishes air dry, you’ll save on heating costs. On newer models,
use the heat-off setting or the energy-saver dry option
6
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY
• If you have a self-cleaning oven, clean it immediately after use.
Because it’s already hot, it will take less energy to get to the
heatcleaning stage
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY 7
• In the market for a new gas stove? Choose a model with
electronic igniters instead of pilot lights for the highest
efficiency
• A microwave is best for defrosting and cooking small portions;
an oven is more efficient for cooking large items such as
turkeys and roasts
• When your electric burners are worn out and don’t work
properly, they use more energy. Save by replacing them
• Save energy by baking an extra dish or cooking entire meals in
the oven at the same time
• Dry your laundry in consecutive loads to take advantage of a
heated dryer. Your laundry will dry faster and use less energy
• On sunny days, hang your clothes outdoors to dry
Refrigerator/Freezer
Your refrigerator/freezer uses more
electricity than any other appliance in your
kitchen. These tips can help you use less
and save more.
Clothes Washer
• Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer door to
browse. Each time you do, cold air escapes and
your energy costs increase
These helpful hints can save you
money, and don’t cost a penny.
• Let hot foods cool before putting them in your refrigerator or
freezer. Hot foods cause the motor to work longer and harder
• Wash and rinse your clothes in cold water
instead of hot to save on water heating
costs. Use a cold-water detergent
• Leave room in front of your refrigerator/freezer to allow cold
air to circulate better
• Set the water level on your washer to match
the size of the load and save two ways—on water
and energy
• You’ll save more by waiting to wash until you have a full load
• Add the right amount of detergent. Too many suds make your
washer work harder and use more energy
Clothes Dryer
• Because frozen food stays cold longer than air, it’s good to
keep your freezer full, but not packed. You’ll save energy by
placing water-filled containers in empty spaces
• Running two refrigerators increases your energy bill. Plus,
older refrigerators are less efficient than new ones. To save, get
rid of the second refrigerator
• Condenser coils remove heat from inside the unit. Make sure
they’re at least two inches from the wall and clean them twice
a year
Here are more hot ideas to help
you save.
• If cold air is escaping around the door seal, adjust or replace
the seal. To check, close the door on a dollar bill. If it’s easy to
pull out, cold air is escaping
• Fill your clothes dryer, but don’t overload
it. Your clothes will dry faster when they
have room to tumble
• If you have a manual-defrost freezer, it will work more
efficiently when ice buildup is kept to 1/4 inch or less
• Overdrying wears out your clothes and wastes
energy. Stop your dryer when the laundry is dry
by setting the timer or using the auto dry cycle
• Set the refrigerator thermometer at 38 degrees to 42 degrees
and your freezer at 0 degrees to 5 degrees
• Your dryer’s lint trap helps warm air flow better and dries your
clothes faster. Make sure to clean it after each load
8
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY 9
Other Appliances
Lighting
Most homes have at least 50
household items that use natural gas
or electricity. Look around your home
for places you can save.
Follow these bright ideas to save energy.
• If your water pump stays on too long after
using water, have it serviced. If it runs
whenever water is turned on, it will wear out
faster and use more energy
• To save water and energy, turn off faucets, indoors and out,
when you’re done using them
• Make sure the toilet handle doesn’t stick after flushing. It
wastes water and makes your water pump run longer
• Be sure the thermostats on appliances work properly. If the
thermostat sticks, the appliance stays on and raises your
energy bill
• Turn off the humidifier or
dehumidifier when they’re not
needed
• After your second cup of coffee, turn
off your coffeemaker and pour the
leftover coffee into an insulated
container to keep it hot
• Turn off the TV, DVR, DVD player,
VCR, stereo or radio when no one is
watching or listening
• If your water pipes are wrapped with
insulating electric heat tape, turn it
off when the weather warms up
• Install dimmer switches and three-way bulbs. They use less
energy and let you enjoy a choice of lighting levels for different
tasks
• For outdoor use, consider high-pressure sodium bulbs, which
are more efficient and last longer than their incandescent
counterparts
• When buying bulbs, check the lumens. The higher the lumens,
the more light you’ll get
More energy-saving ideas
UTILIZE POWER STRIPS
Many computers,
televisions and other
“vampire” devices use
power when they’re off.
Plug these devices into
an easy-to-reach power
strip and turn it off when
you’re not using them.
• Use small appliances that plug into electrical outlets instead of
rechargeable devices, such as hand-held vacuum cleaners and
lawn trimmers which use more energy
• Unplug electronics when not in use. Computers, DVD players,
VCRs, televisions and other electronics use energy when
they’re plugged in—even though they’re turned off
10
• Choose light bulbs carefully. Compact
fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 75 percent
less energy than standard incandescent bulbs
and last 10 times longer. For example, a 20-watt
fluorescent bulb is equal to a 60-watt incandescent
bulb. They can also be used as porch lights
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY
• More light shines through when you keep
dust off your lampshades, light fixtures and
bulbs
• Because light bounces off walls and ceilings,
you’ll get more light for the money if you
paint your walls light colors
• Increase the power of reflection by putting
lamps in corners where two walls reflect light
into the room
• Take advantage of free light from the sun by
putting furniture near windows
• Place security lights on a timer or photoelectric control so they’ll turn on and off
automatically. Mercury vapor or highpressure sodium lights are the best energy
buys for outdoors
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY BRIGHT IDEA:
The Lighting Facts
label on light bulb
packages highlights
brightness and yearly
energy cost.
11
Windows
Insulation
You can stop heat from going out your
windows. Take a look at these energysaving ideas.
More than 50 percent of energy used for
winter heating leaves homes through
uninsulated walls, floors, ceilings and
attics. Insulation traps small pockets of air
between warm and cold areas inside your
home and helps keep warm air in during
winter. Insulation is the key to big energy
savings. Try these tips.
• Drapes can cut heat loss in half if they
have an insulating liner
• Let your drapes hang loose, and be sure they
don’t block heat registers and air-return ducts
• Vinyl shades and quilted curtains help cut heat loss. Shutters
and blinds don’t work as well because air travels through their
open spaces
• Close drapes on north-facing windows to keep the chill out in
winter
• On cool days, let the sun shine in by opening curtains, drapes,
shades, shutters and blinds on the southern and eastern
windows. Close them on cloudy days and at night to keep heat
from escaping
• On hot summer days, open windows and doors in early
morning and in the evening to let cool air in
• Cut your heating losses by installing storm windows. Doublepane or triple-pane windows are best
• Replace old windows with new high-performance windows
• Repair open spaces in broken or cracked windows and door
glass
• Use clear plastic or vinyl sheeting on the inside of your
windows to make a temporary double-pane window. Use
weatherproof tape or duct tape, trim or tacking strips to hold
it in place
FIRE AND CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
Please don’t use gas grills, ovens or range tops
for heating. These items can cause a fire or result
in deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. And to be
safe, be sure your house is equipped with a carbon
monoxide detector.
12
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY
• Check your home’s insulation in the attic, ceiling, walls and
floor. Insulation is judged by its R-value. The higher the
R-value, the better the material keeps heat in during cold
weather and cool in during hot weather. Required R-values
vary across Michigan. Check with a store that sells insulation
or a local contractor for the requirements in your area
• Adding batts of fiberglass insulation in your attic is one of the
most cost-effective savings measures and one you can do
yourself
• Add extra insulation to floors by covering them with a pad
and rug
• Heat rises, but it also sinks into the basement and crawl space
through uninsulated floors. Make your home more
comfortable and cut heating losses by insulating floors
• Prevent heat loss as warm air travels through heat ducts from
your furnace by wrapping heat ducts with insulation. Also, use
duct foil tape where rectangular heat ducts join, and waterbase
acrylic latex caulk where round and rectangular duct fittings
meet
• Seal cracks where pipes, electrical wires, vents and ducts enter
your home
• About 2 percent of air escapes your home through electrical
outlets, especially on outside walls. Install insulation made for
electrical outlets. You can also use safety outlet plugs to stop
cold air from entering your home
• Insulate hot water pipes in unheated areas to keep hot water
hot
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY 13
Caulk & Weather Stripping
Pool and Hot Tub
You’ll live more comfortably when you
get rid of cracks and leaks that let
warm air escape from your home on
cold days. Here’s how.
Efficient ways to heat your pool and hot tub
can yield extra s­ avings. Consider these
recommendations.
• Seal cracks in your basement floor to keep
heat in and cold air out
• Caulk windows, doors and anywhere air
leaks in or out
• Weather-strip around windows and doors
• Seal cracks where pipes, electrical wires and ducts enter
your home
• Seal openings where doors and windows close into their
frames with weather stripping—pieces of felt, rubber, metal
or plastic that compress when you shut them
• Replace torn or worn weather stripping and caulk
• Do not caulk around your natural gas water heater ­exhaust
pipes or furnace exhaust pipes
Fireplace
Add to the warmth and enjoyment of a
fireplace by following these tips.
• Use a solar cover to get free heat from the sun
and prevent evaporation. If too much water
evaporates, the water temperature drops
• Keep the filters clean. You’ll save energy
• Be sure the water temperature is comfortable, about
80 degrees. Overheating wastes energy
• Cover your hot tub when it’s not in use to retain heat
SHOPPING FOR NEW APPLIANCES
When shopping for new appliances, check
EnergyGuide labels. They provide the annual
operating cost and efficiency ratings of the
appliance.
Look for ENERGY STAR®
products that can save you
money month after month.
Buy the most energy-efficient
model you can to keep your
energy costs down.
• Close the damper when the fireplace isn’t
being used. About 14 percent of air
escapes your home through the fireplace
chimney
• Try not to run the fireplace and central heating
system at the same time
SAVE ON ENERGY BILLS
• Seal unused fireplaces to keep heat from escaping and cold air
from coming in
With 50 rebates for residential customers
and more than 150 for businesses, there is
something to help you reduce your cost with
energy effifiency.
For home rebates and savings, visit
ConsumersEnergy.com/myhome
14
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY
100 WAYS TO SAVE • CONSUMERS ENERGY 15
Get on the Budget Plan
Take those big seasonal surprises
out of your energy bills with the
Consumers Energy Budget Plan.
You pay the same amount for
energy each month — summer,
winter, spring and fall — which
makes budgeting a whole lot
easier.
• Enrollment is free and easy
Uneven payments
without the Budget Plan.
• Fits any lifestyle
• Great way to manage monthly
energy bills
Enroll Today
ConsumersEnergy.com
(800) 477-5050
Equal payments
with the Budget Plan.
IT PAYS TO HAVE A PLAN.
HELPING MICHIGAN
SAVE ENERGY.
THAT’S OUR PROMISE.
2000 3/14 10103875
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