Energy-Saving Tips

Simple ways to saving energy at your home:

 

COOLING
  • Clean the outside condenser at least once a year preferably in the spring. This can easily be done by spraying it down with a hose with the nozzle on high stream. A clean condenser can increase the efficiency of your cooling system and save on your utility bill.
  • Install an Energy Star ® temperature settings when you are away from the home and at night.
  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit or above while in the home.Thermostat Settings Can Make a Difference
    Summer Time Settings and projected saving to your utility bill 

    % Savings Temperature
    12% Less 80°
    6% Less 79°
    Recommended 78°
    6% More 77°
    12% More 76°
    18% More 75°
    24% More 74°
    30% More 73°
    36% More 72°

    * The percent changes are approximate and apply only
    to your air conditioning costs not the total bill.

  • Set your thermostat at 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above during the night or when you are away from the home.
  • Install overhead fans wherever possible.
  • Use smaller fans in areas you can not install overhead fans.
  • Replace your air filter at least every month, especially during the heavy summer usage months.
  • Have your evaporator coil cleaned at least every three years. A clean evaporator coil can increase the efficiency of your cooling system and help you save on your utility bill.
  • Have a qualified HVAC technician check your system every two years. Either to low or too high pressure can cause your system to over work and reduces the overall efficiency level.
  • Inspect your duct system for leaks and seal them wherever possible. If you can’t do it yourself, have a qualified HVAC technician do it for you. Air leaks in your duct system can cause up to a 30% loss of cool air being delivered to where it should be going.

 

HEATING
  • Replace or clean furnace, air conditioner and heat pump filters every month.
  • Turn your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower when you heat your home. Thermostats for heat pumps are best left steady at 68 or lower, but should not be adjusted by more than two degrees at any single adjustment to avoid engaging the auxiliary resistance heat strips.
  • Keep drapes and shades closed at night in winter and open them during the day to let the sunshine in to help warm your home.
  • If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when you’re not using it, and use a glass door to minimize the amount of heat that escapes up the chimney.
  • Make sure all windows and doors are shut tightly when the heat is on.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to automatically control your central heating system.

 

LIGHTING
  • Turn off lights that are not needed and in rooms not in use.
  • Use timers or light sensors so security lights are on only when you want them to be lit.
  • Install motion sensors in places you might often forget to turn the light off yourself.
  • Dust your light bulbs and clean the fixture covers to get the most light out of your fixtures.
  • When replacing incandescent light bulbs, use energy efficient LED bulbs.
 

LED LIGHTING
  • LED stands for light-emitting diode, and produces light by using a semiconductor to convert electricity into light.
  • LED lighting comes in just about every style bulb so replacing incandescent and fluorescent bulbs is easy. LED’s are made to retrofit traditional style bulbs in lamps, spotlights, PAR lighting, decorative, flood lights and now even in the popular LED Antique Edison Bulbs, the filament look.
  • Each style of LED lighting has a variety of equivalent light output that you may be used to in incandescent lighting. Example, there are equivalent LED lights for 25W, 60W, 75W, 100W, etc. so you can easily compare and know what you are buying when shopping.
  • Be aware when purchasing LED lights that they come in a variety of colors. For traditional white bulbs the color of LED lights varies depending on the Kelvin rating. When purchasing LED’s be aware that the lower the Kelvin rating or “K” you see on the package, the more warm white or yellow the light. A 2700K or 3000K light will have similar light to incandescent lighting, more warm white. A whiter light or cool white will be in the 4500K – 6000K range.
  • Depending on the quality of the product and the operating temperature, LED bulbs have a useful life expectancy of approximately 15,000-100,000 hours of light—that’s 8-50 times longer than incandescent bulbs while providing the same brightness.
  • LEDs come to full brightness without need for a warm-up time.
  • Switching LEDs on and off does not affect the lifetime of the bulb.
  • LED bulbs do not burn out like incandescent and fluorescent bulbs; LED light output will diminish over time. A standard to determine when a LED is considered at the end of its life is when 30% of the lumen level, or light output, is lost.
  • LED bulbs release very little heat due to their efficient design, whereas incandescent bulbs emit 90% of their energy in the form of heat—this can heat your house and cause your air conditioner to run more frequently. The cooler burning LED lights are ideal for all installations but the difference in heat output is really noticed in smaller spaces such as bathrooms and closets.
  • The LED itself is robust, non-sensitive, vibration-proof and unbreakable. They do not “blow” or break when dropped.
  • LED bulbs are safer for the environment. LED lights do not contain any type of hazardous chemicals so when it comes time to dispose of them there are nothing special that needs to be done.
  • LED lighting is perfect for residential and commercial uses, indoor and outdoor.
  • Most LEDs do not emit light in all directions, it is typically a directional type light. Omnidirectional LEDs are becoming more common place as the technology evolves.
  • LED lights can be installed in any direction, facing up as in a lamp or facing down as in a recessed fixture in a ceiling and they can be used with dimmable switches.
  • Using LED string lights for your holiday lighting projects are the safer choice because they emit less heat, reducing the risk of combustion or burns to your fingers.

 

WATER HEATING, WASHING AND DRYING
  • Put an insulating blanket on your water heater.
  • Clean dryer lint filter after each load.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes
  • Set your water heater thermostat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Do laundry and other energy intensive chores in the morning hours or late at night when overall energy usage is lower.
  • Wash only full loads in your dishwasher.
  • Don’t use Rinse-Hold setting on your dishwasher. It wastes 3 to 7 gallons of hot water. Do use Air dry setting and other power-saving features on your dishwasher.
  • When purchasing a new clothes washer, consider Energy Star models that save energy and water. Most use 30% – 50% less water and 50% less energy per load.
    EnergyStar_change_h_c
  • If the clothes washer has a water level selection, use the lowest practical level. Use cold water rinse for all loads.
  • Use a cold water detergent and try using the cold water washing cycle. It does make colors last longer.
  • Repair leaking or dripping hot and cold water faucets.
  • Install efficient shower heads that use 2.5 gallons per minute or less.
  • Turn off the water heater at your breaker if you know you are going to be away for awhile. Consider a timer that turns the heater off at night.

 

COOKING
  • If you can plan it out properly, cook more than one item at a time in your oven.
  • For warming foods, use your microwave in place of your range or oven.
  • Preheat your oven only 5 to 8 minutes when baking. Use a timer to reduce the number of times you open the oven door during baking.
  • Use flat-bottom pans for best contact with the heat. Use tight fitting lids to keep the steam in the pan.

 

REFRIGERATION, FREEZING
  • Keep the temperature setting inside your refrigerator at 38 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit“also, keep your freezer full, it will run more efficiently and cycle less often.
  • Clean refrigerator and freezer coil with a brush or vacuum cleaner at least once every 6 months. You may need to pull them away from the back wall to clean both the front and back side of the coils.
  • Defrost your freezer when ice or frost builds up to ¼ inch or more.
  • Check your refrigerator and freezer door gaskets from time to time for signs of deterioration, and replace them when necessary.

 

WINDOWS
  • Install window film to reduce heat loss/ gain.
  • Caulk or weather-strip around the window sills.
  • During the summer months close drapes or blinds facing the West while the sun is streaming in.
  • When replacing windows, choose a double-pane, solar-control low-E, argon gas-filled, wood or vinyl frame window.

 

INSULATION
  • You should add insulation to your attic if you do not have a R-36 rating or better. The list shown gives the insulation R-Values per inch of material used

    Type Avg R-value/inch # inches for R-36 Rating
    Fiberglass Batts 3.7 R-value/inch 9.8”
    Loose Fiberglass 3.1 R-value/inch 11.6”
    Loose Rock Wool 3.1 R-value/inch 11.6”
    Cellulose 3.4 R-value/inch 10.6”
    Extruded Expanded Polystyrene 3.7 R-value/inch 9.8”
    Molded expanded Polystyrene 3.7 R-value/inch 9.8”
    Polyurethane spray foam 3.6 R-value/inch 10.0”
    Phenolic spray foam 5.9 R-value/inch 6.1”

     

     

    If you know what kind of insulation you have in your attic, you can simply take a ruler and measure the thickness.
  • Consider adding a radiant barrier to stop the radiant heat from penetrating your roof.
  • Find and fix and convection loops that might be in your attic space. Convection loops are open exposures that let heat travel down your walls from the hot attic space to lower cooler areas in your home. Heat always flows from hot to cold areas.

 

BIGGER PROJECTS
  • Replace aging (10 or more years old) and inefficient appliances with high-efficiency “Energy Star” labeled models. For a dishwasher this can save 154 kWh/year, for a refrigerator, the savings can be 353 kWh/year, and for a washing machine, the savings can be up to 538 kWh/year.
  • Improve your entire home’s insulation.
  • Replace furnace with more efficient model.
  • Purchase solar panels and solar water heating system.
  • Use passive solar design in building a new home.
  • Purchase micro wind turbines.
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