Energy Savings Tips
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Efficient Use of Energy for your Home:
Heating and Cooling:
- Set your thermostat to 78 degrees (F) in the summer and 68 degrees (F) in the winter. Every degree of extra heating or cooling will increase energy usage 6% to 8%.
- Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature than normal will not cool your home faster.
- On warm days raise your thermostat to 80 degrees (F) or higher if leaving for more than four hours.
- Use ceiling or portable fans. Fans move the air and make the room feel four to six degrees cooler, and use much less energy than the air conditioner.
- Keep windows and doors shut tight. Going in and out of the house repeatedly will make your air conditioner or furnace work harder.
- Use shades or curtains to block the sun and heat during warm weather, and open them to let the sun warm your home during cooler months.
- Make sure your air conditioner is clean. Washing the outside coils and clearing high grass and debris will prevent blockage of the air flow.
- Do not use humidifiers or evaporator (“swamp”) coolers with the air conditioner.
Efficient Use of Energy for your Appliances:
Refrigerators and Freezers:
- Minimize opening and closing your refrigerator and freezer. Every time you open it, cool air will rush out and be replaced with warm air, causing the refrigerator to run more to stay cool.
- Keep it full. Refrigerators and freezers actually operate most efficiently when full, so keep your refrigerator and freezer as full as possible (with bottles of water if nothing else)
- Keep condenser coils on the back of your refrigerator and freezer clean.
- Set temperature to 120 degrees (F) if your dishwasher has its own water heater; otherwise set it at 140 degrees (F).
- Repair leaking faucets. Warm-water leaks should be given immediate attention because they can raise your electric consumption rapidly.
- Drain your hot water tank regularly to remove sediment.
Dishwashers and Clothes Washer/Dryer:
- Only run dishwashers and clothes washers when fully loaded. This will save water in addition to electricity. Use cold water for laundry.
- Use the air-dry setting on your dishwasher. Using the heat-dry setting can also heat the kitchen, causing the air conditioner to run more.
- When drying clothes, do not overfill the dryer and use the automatic setting if available. Dry loads back-to-back if possible, but remember to clean the lint screen between each load.
- Ensure that the outside clothes dryer air vent is well-sealed.
- Use at night. Using dishwashers and clothes washers/dryers at night will keep the house cooler, reduce strain on the power grid during the peak usage hours of 4 PM and 6 PM and reduce the chance of an emergency.
Lighting and Other Electrical Equipment:
- Turn them off. Turn off lights, TVs, and other equipment when when you leave a room. You’ll save electricity and generate less heat, meaning the air conditioner will run less.
- Use power strips. Even when turned off, electronic and other home office equipment can continue to consume electricity when plugged into the wall. Shutting off power at a power strip will eliminate this standby electricity consumption.
- Don’t leave bathroom or kitchen ventilation fans running longer than necessary; they replace inside air with outside air.
- Use power management tools such as power strips.
- Set monitors and computers to switch to sleep mode when idle for more than a few minutes. This not only uses less energy, but is cooler and reduces the need to run air-conditioning.
- Turn machines completely off at a power strip when not in use.
Energy Efficiency Improvements:
Reduce Lighting Costs:
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). CFLs use 75% less electricity and produce 90% less heat.
- Make sure bulbs do not exceed the recommended wattage indicated on the light socket.
- One larger wattage bulb is more efficient than two smaller wattage bulbs.
- Directed light, such as for reading, is more efficient than brightly lighting an entire room.
- Clean light bulbs regularly.
Install and Use a Programmable Thermostat:
- Set them to raise the temperature during the day when you’re not home, and to cool the house down before you arrive home. Properly used, a programmable thermostat can save 10-20% of your energy use.
- Increase the comfort of your home while reducing your bills by investing in proper insulation and weatherization products.
- Reduce air leaks and increase the efficiency of your home by caulking, sealing and weather-stripping all seams, cracks and openings to the outside.
- Check with the Insulation Contractors Association of America to make sure your home meets current insulation recommendations.
- Check your ducts to see if there are any leaks and seal them with mastic tape if needed. Caulk and weather-strip doors, windows and pipe clearances. You can save as much as 10% on cooling costs relatively inexpensively by sealing these leaks.
Properly Size and Maintain Your Air Conditioner
- Ensure that your HVAC system is properly sized for your home and correctly installed. Bigger is not always better.
- At the beginning of cooler or warmer weather, have a professional come out to inspect your HVAC system.
- Have your duct system checked for air leaks and proper insulation.
- Consider installing a “whole house fan” to improve circulation and ventilation throughout your home.
- Outside air conditioning units, or condensers, should be shaded.
- Check air filters once a month and replace at least every three months; dirty filters make your system run and work harder than necessary.
- If your air-conditioner is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient model that can use up to 40% less energy than older models.
Ventilate and Insulate the Attic:
- Proper ventilation reduces the temperature and moisture buildup, which can cause the air conditioner to work harder. Proper, high R-value insulation will keep more cool air in the house.
- A properly landscaped home can significantly reduce your household energy consumption for heating and cooling.
- Consult your local nursery for information on trees and shrubbery that can serve as shade in the summer and wind blocks in the winter. You should consider mature size, growth rate, strength and brittleness before planting.
Consider Energy Cost When Buying New Appliances:
- When buying an appliance, remember that it has two price tags: what you pay to take it home and what you pay for the energy and water it uses.
- ENERGY STAR qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-50% less energy and water than standard models. The money you save on your utility bills can more than make up for the cost of a more expensive but more efficient ENERGY STAR model.
- Consider a tankless water heater. They are 35% to 45% more efficient, and you will never run out of hot water.
Improve Your Windows:
- If your home has single pane windows, consider replacing them with more energy efficient windows, or adding solar shades or tinting film.
Bathroom—where over half of all water use inside a house takes place:
- Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.
- Take short showers instead of tub baths. Turn off the water while soaping or shampooing.
- If you must use a tub, close the drain before turning on the water and fill the tub only half full. Bathe small children together.
- Never use your toilet as a waste basket.
Kitchen and Laundry—simple practices that save a lot of water:
- Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin. Use a vegetable brush.
- Do not use water to defrost frozen foods; thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher; wash only full loads.
- Add food wastes to your compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal.
- Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
Equipment—homes with high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances save about 30 percent of indoor water use and yield substantial savings on water, sewer, and energy bills:
- Install low-flow faucet aerators and showerheads.
- Consider purchasing a high efficiency washing machine which can save over 50 percent in laundry water and energy use.
- Repair all leaks. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day. To detect leaks in the toilet, add food coloring to the tank water. If the colored water appears in the bowl, the toilet is leaking. Toilet repair advice is available on www.toiletology.com/index.shtml.
Landscape Irrigation—depending on climate, up to 75 percent of a home’s total water use during the growing season is for outdoor purposes (During drought conditions outdoor watering restrictions may be imposed, so some of the following tips will not apply):
- Detect and repair all leaks in irrigation system.
- Use properly treated wastewater for irrigation where available.
- Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best). Do not water on windy days.
- Water trees and shrubs, which have deep root systems, longer and less frequently than shallow-rooted plants that require smaller amounts of water more often. Check with the local extension service for advice on watering needs in your area.
- Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only—not the street or sidewalk.
- Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation systems for trees and shrubs.
- Install moisture sensors on sprinkler systems.
- Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface and cut down on weed growth.
- Remove thatch and aerate turf to encourage movement of water to the root zone.
- Raise your lawn mower cutting height—longer grass blades help shade each other, reduce evaporation, and inhibit weed growth.
- Minimize or eliminate fertilizing, which promotes new growth needing additional watering.
- When outdoor use of city or well water is restricted during a drought, use the water from the air conditioning condenser, dehumidifier, bath, or sink on plants or the garden. Don’t use water that contains bleach, automatic-dishwashing detergent or fabric softener.
Other Outdoor Uses:
- Sweep driveways, sidewalks and steps rather than hosing off.
- Wash the car with water from a bucket, or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.
- When using a hose, control the flow with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
- Avoid purchasing recreational water toys which require a constant stream of water.
- Consider purchasing a new water-saving swimming pool filter.
- Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation when pool is not being used.
- Do not install or use ornamental water features unless they recycle the water. Use signs to show the public that water is recycled. Do not operate during a drought