Energy Saving Tips
With costs continually rising for everything, energy conservation becomes more a part of our lives each day. We have talked about conservation in the utility industry ever since the energy crisis began in the 70's.
We can all control our energy costs to some degree, whether it be in our car, our home or whatever, by controlling how much we use. Many of the ways we can conserve require thought on our part and often a minimal of money invested. Saving energy should be on all our minds today.
Below are some ways you can conserve to save both money and energy.
Heating and Cooling Systems
- Clean and maintain your furnace annually. Replace or clean filters in a hot air system or heat pump monthly.
- If you are replacing your AC unit, make sure you replace it with a high efficiency heat pump with a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 13 or better.
- If you have an inefficient furnace, consider adding a high-efficiency heat pump. It could save you up to 40% on heating costs and keep you cool next summer.
- When the heat is on, turn the thermostat to the lowest setting comfortable to your family and leave it. Especially with a heat pump, vary the setting no more than three-to-five degrees from day to night to heat efficiently.
- Don't block conditioning vents with furniture or clutter. Keep them clean.
- In the winter, close drapes at night and let the sun in during the day to cut energy costs.
Air Leaks and Insulation
- Insulation is a very important factor in controlling home energy costs. Insulation is rated by R-value, or resistance to the transference of heat. The cost of adding insulation can usually be recovered in just a few years with the savings on heating and cooling bills.
- Heating pipes and air ducts should be insulated and sealed, especially those in unheated space (basements, crawl space, garages).
- Windows and doors need to be caulked and weather-stripped to prevent conditioned air from leaking out or unconditioned air from coming in.
- Check the thermostat on your water heater. With a dishwasher, it needs to be set no higher than 125°.
- Fix leaky faucets. One drop per second can waste up to seven gallons of water per day.
- Fluorescent lighting gives more light for less energy. A 40-watt fluorescent tube produces more light than a 100-watt bulb. Lighting one 100-watt bulb gives more light for less energy than two 60-watt bulbs.
- LED lights can help you significantly save energy. Some can last more 10 years before needing to be replaced and they use less energy than traditional light bulbs.
- Check refrigeration and freezer coils for a build up of dust, dirt or grease. This build-up actually insulates your refrigeration equipment coils and keeps them from cooling. Refrigerators can also be operated most efficiently when well stocked allowing enough room for air to circulate freely around food.
- Reduce the number of times you open your refrigerator during the day. Think about and decide what you will take out before you open the door to limit the length of time the door is open. Pack a freezer full for most efficient operation.
- Small electric appliances (i.e. microwaves, electric skillet, toaster oven and grills) are often quicker and more economical to use than your range. They can also help keep your kitchen cooler on hot days.
- Preheat your oven only when baking bread or bread products - never for broiling.
- Don't open the oven door to "peek" because each time you do 20% of the heated air inside escapes. A dishwasher uses about 15 gallons of hot water. Run it only when you have a full load.
- Most appliances cost more in lifetime energy consumption than their purchase price. Be sure to check the energy efficiency rating (EER) when buying new appliances and buy only the features you need. These things can save you money.
Be sure to visit our blog for even more ways that you can save!
It is important for each of us to do our part. We can make a difference in our own energy consumption and in our non-renewable resource use. Even practicing a few of these tips can save money and, in turn, save energy.