Tips for Saving Energy
Reduce Your Energy Bills and Preserve the Environment
From home heating to cordless phones to washing machines, most of your daily activities use energy. Since the government began tracking national energy-use statistics in 1949, Americans have increased their annual use of household electricity 17 times.
Every home uses energy differently, and every home saves energy differently. Lifestyles and living situations affect your monthly energy bills. Depending on each family’s energy-use habits, one family might use 50 percent less energy than another living in a similar home right next door. For a typical household in Gascosage Electric’s territory, take a look at the breakdown of where energy dollars go.
You don’t have to sacrifice comfort
You don’t have to sacrifice comfort to see savings on your energy bill. By using energy efficiently and eliminating waste, you can achieve the same desired results with less.
Appliance manufacturers have made huge strides in developing products that provide the same output but use less energy. If you’re in the market for a new appliance, install one that works more efficiently and costs less to operate. To identify energy efficient products, visit www.energystar.gov.
Saving energy preserves natural resources
Using less energy also means fewer power plant emissions and waste, which helps keep the environment clean and safe today and far into the future. Because electricity is generated from fossil fuels, we must use it wisely to preserve supplies for future generations.
You can also save money and resources by eliminating wasted energy
Begin by inspecting your house from top to bottom! Air infiltrates in and out of your home through every nook and cranny. Approximately one-third of this air infiltrates through openings in your ceilings, walls, and floors.
First, test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, hold a lit candle or incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, attic hatches, and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weather-stripping.
Install storm windows, or double-pane windows. Storm windows can as much as double the R-value of single-pane windows and they help reduce drafts, water condensation, and frost formation. As a less costly and less permanent option, you can use heavy duty, clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Remember the plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
Add insulation to duct work located in unheated spaces, seal ducts to prevent leaks. Leaking ducts can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills. Insulate your home fully for the most efficient energy conservation.
Close off unoccupied rooms. However, do not turn the heating off if it adversely affects the rest of your system. For example, if you heat your home with a heat pump, do not close the vents – doing so could harm the heat pump.
Use a programmable thermostat. Locate thermostats on inside walls, away from drafts.
Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer. Dress to suit the weather.
Clean or replace filters on furnaces and air conditioners once a month or as needed.
Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed.
Use drapes to keep out heat in summer and to keep heat in during winter.
Set water heater temperature at 120 degrees. Use cold water whenever possible. Take showers instead of baths, limiting it to 5 minutes or use a low flow showerhead.
Grow a windbreak of trees and shrubs which will help break the force of winter winds – and shade trees keep you cooler naturally.
Select energy efficient equipment when buying new heating and cooling equipment.
Another source for more energy savers is the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC) at www.eren.doe.gov.