Energy Saving Tips
Heating & Cooling System
Keep your thermostat set at 78 degrees or higher during the cooling season. Use of fans can make these higher temperature settings feel more comfortable. Keep the thermostat at 72 degrees or lower during the heating season. A one-degree change in the thermostat setting can cost you an additional 3% in energy costs. Don't keep changing your thermostat. Find the right level and leave it. Newer thermostats are more accurate than older ones. Older thermostats may activate the heating or cooling within a broad range – possibly five or ten degrees. A thermostat set at 78 degrees, but is actually 75 degrees can cost up to an additional 9% in cooling costs. Make sure your thermostat is reading correctly. Use a thermometer you know is accurate to check your thermostat. If your thermostat is reading incorrectly, have it repaired accordingly or have it replaced. Shade your air conditioner. An air conditioner exposed to the sun will use up to 5% more energy. Have your heating and cooling system tuned-up by a licensed professional once a year. Consider the purchase of a new heating and cooling system if yours is 15 years or older.
Dirty air filters block a significant percentage of airflow and drastically reduce heating and cooling system efficiency. A dirty filter can increase your heating and cooling costs as much as 10%. Filters should be changed at least once a month. This will not only keep your air cleaner, but will prolong the life of your heating and cooling system, as a clean system will run more efficiently.
Normal air leakage doubles when a central air conditioner is running. This is caused by pressure and suction created in the air conditioner and the ductwork. Consequently, you need to reduce or eliminate air leakage as it can account for 10-30 % of the cooling load. Leakage is commonly found around
- Electrical service boxes.
- Plumbing infiltrations. (Kitchen and bathroom).
- Fireplaces and chimneys.
- Heating and air conditioning ducts.
- Light fixtures.
- Attic access doors Caulk and weather-strip around all doors, windows and other openings.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs will last up to ten times longer than comparable incandescent bulbs and will produce the same level of light for one-fourth of the operating cost. They will also reduce your home's cooling load, as they do not produce heat. Turn off lights when possible and remove unwanted light bulbs where light is too bright. When replacing light bulbs use a lower wattage.
Hot water can account for up to 30% of your energy costs—second only to your heating and cooling energy expense. Insulate older electric water heaters with an insulating blanket available at hardware stores. If your water heater feels warm to the touch, then it definitely needs additional insulation. Insulate your hot water pipes coming out of the water heater. This can result in a 3% savings in heating costs. Install a piece of insulation board under your water heater for additional energy savings. Reducing the consumption of hot water will save you money. Suggestions are:
- Install a low-flow showerhead in the shower as well as reduce time in the shower.
- Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full loads can be washed.
- Turn down the temperature setting on your water heater to 120 degrees.
- Use cold water as much as possible when washing clothes.
- Repair leaking hot water faucets.
- Don't let the hot water tap run unnecessarily.
Pre-heat your oven just long enough to reach the correct temperature. Turn it off five to ten minutes early before removing food from the oven. Bake several dishes at the same time. It uses no more energy—you get two or more for the price of one. Use a microwave oven when possible. A microwave uses up to 50% less energy than a conventional oven. Keep your refrigerator and freezer as full as possible. A half-empty appliance uses more energy. Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Opening the doors cause the appliance to use more energy. Make sure your refrigerator and freezer gaskets are tight. Close the door on a heavy piece of paper. If it pulls out easily, the gaskets may need replacing. Keep your refrigerator and freezer at the right temperature. If they're only 10 degrees colder than necessary, your operating costs will go up an amazing 25%. Refrigerators should be between 38 and 42 degrees and the freezer between 0 and 5 degrees. When using your dishwasher, use short cycles for everything but the dirtiest dishes. This can save up to 25% on hot water and electrical usage. If your dishwasher has an air-dry setting, use it instead of the heat-dry setting. You can save up to 15 to 50% of your energy costs by air drying dishes. Washers and dryers can account for as much as 25% of electrical usage. When running these appliances always use a full load. Clean the lint filter in your dryer after each use. This will keep the dryer from running longer. Try using a clothesline in your garage or outside line to reduce your electric dryer costs. On hot days, minimize the heat entering your home from outside by closing shades or curtains. A heated waterbed can use as much energy as a large refrigerator. Leaving it unmade can double your energy costs by letting the heat dissipate into the air.