Energy Saving Tips

Simple Steps - Summer

  • Set your thermostat to 78 or the highest comfortable temperature. Each degree cooler than 78 will increase your bill as much as 3%. If you're going to be away for an extended period, set your air conditioner to 80 degrees or higher.
  • Place window and central air conditioning units on the shady or north side of your home when possible. When using window units, shut doors to unused rooms, and close floor or wall registers used for heating.
  • Install solar screens or films on sunny windows to reduce heat gain in your home, thus reducing air conditioning costs.
  • Keep air conditioner filters clean. Aluminum mesh filters should be washed and fiberglass filters should be replaced monthly.
  • Leave storm windows and doors closed when the air conditioner is on.
  • Close shades and drapes on the sunny side of the house during the day to keep light and heat out.
  • Don't block air vents with curtains, shades or furniture.
  • Keep the cool air in your home circulating with ceiling, oscillating or box fans. Circulating air makes you feel cooler and allows you to set your thermostat higher.
  • Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to remove excess heat and humidity caused by cooking, laundering and bathing.

Simple Steps - Winter

  • You can take the chill off your winter energy bills by making some simple adjustments. If you have a fireplace, close the damper when it's not in use. Don't let your heating dollars go up in smoke!
  • Set your thermostat for 68 degrees or the lowest comfortable temperature and leave it there.
  • Each extra degree of heat above 68 will add approximately 3% to your heating bill.
  • Keep all doors and windows closed when the heat is on. Doors and windows should stay closed even if you have storm windows and doors on the outside.
  • Open drapes to let in solar heat. Close them at night to reduce heat loss.
  • Don't block heat registers or cold air returns with curtains or furniture.
  • Check furnace filters every 30 days, and clean or replace as needed.
  • If you're gone for a few days, set the thermostat back to 55 degrees to keep pipes from freezing.

Simple Steps - Water Heater

  • The water heater is your second-largest energy user, and there are many ways to save by using hot water efficiently.
  • Be sure that you have an energy-efficient water heater. To check, read the label. Also place the water heater as close as possible to the area where you use hot water most.
  • Newer dishwashers have a preheating element, allowing you to set your water heater thermostat back to 110 degrees. Always turn off the circuit breaker before adjusting the thermostat on your water heater.
  • While shaving, don't run the hot water. Fill the basin and save up to six gallons of hot water in five minutes.
  • Insulate the pipes going into and out of the tank.
  • Drain a gallon of water once a year through the faucet at the bottom of the water heater to remove sediment that decreases energy efficiency.
  • Fix leaky faucets. They can waste up to 3,000 gallons of hot water a year.
  • Quick showers use less than one-half as much hot water as a bath. Flow-restricting shower heads can lower usage by as much as 10 gallons per minute.
  • Wash full loads of clothes in the coolest water possible. Always rinse in cold water.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it's full.
  • Turn the water heater off when you're away from home for more than a weekend.

Simple Steps - Lighting

  • Lighting, TVs, stereos and radios account for about 8% of your energy bill. Here are some tips that won't leave you in the dark.
  • For more light, use one large bulb rather than several smaller ones. A 100-watt bulb produces 50% more light than four 25-watt bulbs for the same amount of energy.
  • Watts indicate how much electricity a bulb will use. Lumens tell the amount of light the bulb will provide. The more lumens per watt, the higher the bulb's efficiency. Using more efficient bulbs will help control your bill.
  • Use low-watt bulbs where lighting is not critical.
  • Use "longer life" bulbs in hard-to-reach places that require less light. These lights will burn longer but don't shine as brightly.
  • Use dimmer switches to reduce energy use when brightness isn't important.
  • Clean bulbs and lampshades regularly. You can get one-third more light for your money.
  • Fluorescent lamps give five times more light and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • They're also cooler, so they help reduce your air conditioning costs.
  • Turn off lights, TVs, stereos and radios if no one will be in the room.

Simple Steps - Refrigerators and Freezers

  • Standing in front of an open refrigerator door while you decide what you want wastes a lot of energy. The refrigerator and freezer account for eight cents of every electric dollar. Look for energy-efficient models with features like power-saver switches and improved insulation.
  • Place refrigerators and freezers away from heat sources (like the range).
  • Keep the temperature between 37 and 42 degrees in the refrigerator and zero and five degrees in the freezer. If you're away for more than a couple of days, turn your refrigerator up two or three settings.
  • Cool foods to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator unless the recipe specifies otherwise. Cover all stored liquids - they release vapors that increase the compressor's workload.
  • Make sure your refrigerator door closes tightly. Close it on a dollar bill. If you can pull it out, you may need a new gasket.
  • Clean condenser coils (located on the back or bottom of your refrigerator) at least once a year to increase efficiency.
  • Don't overcrowd your refrigerator. It can interfere with air flow and create "hot spots." On the other hand, most freezers work better fully loaded.
  • Side-by-side refrigerator/freezers use about 45% more energy than over-under two-door models. Upright freezers use more energy than top-loading freezers.
  • Defrost manual-defrost refrigerators or freezers before the frost becomes one-quarter inch thick.

Simple Steps - Cooking

  • Follow these cost-cutting ideas for the kitchen. Select flat-bottomed pans that fit the heating units. And use lids to retain heat and decrease cooking time.
  • Baking defrosted food uses one-third less energy than starting with frozen food.
  • Don't pre-heat if your dish requires an hour or more to cook.
  • Use your oven rather than the range whenever you can. Insulated ovens retain heat and use less energy.
  • Plan meals so several things can cook at the same time in the oven.
  • Use a timer. Remember, opening the oven door lets up to 20% of the heat escape.
  • Microwaves use less energy and cook food faster than conventional ovens. They also produce much less heat.
  • Use a pressure cooker to save time and energy.
  • Use smaller kitchen appliances, like toaster-ovens and electric fryers, when you can.
  • Lower the heat once boiling begins. High heat will only make the water evaporate faster.
  • Ceramic, glass and stainless steel cooking vessels conduct and retain heat better, therefore when baking with these type vessels, the oven setting can be lowered by 25 degrees.

Simple Steps - The Laundry Room

  • Clean the lint filter after every load to cut down on drying time. And remember, dry full loads of clothes - but don't overload your dryer.
  • Dry loads back-to-back to take advantage of stored heat. Also don't overdry your clothes.
  • Make sure there is a vent from the dryer to the outside of your house to allow hot air and moisture to escape.

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