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Energy Saving Tips

Why is My Bill so High?

And What to Do About It

Heating

During winter months, heating represents the single largest use of residential electricity. When the temperatures are low, your HVAC or furnace uses more energy to keep your home warm.

  • Service your unit annually and change filters regularly.
  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter.
  • Caulk or weather strip areas around windows and doors.
  • Do not use space heaters as a primary heat source.

Water Heating

Water heating is a fairly large energy user in your home. While not everyone can go out and purchase a new water heater, there are still some things you can do to use less water and save on high bills.

  • Take short showers instead of a bath.
  • Insulate hot water lines coming from the tank.
  • Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees.

Gadgets

When combined, appliances and electronics account for 60% of total residential energy use. This includes refrigeration, washers, dryers, small appliances, TVs and other electronic devices.

  • Use a power strip to turn off unused electronic devices.
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes and keep lint filter clean.
  • Air-dry the dishes in your dishwasher.

Energy Saving Tips

  • Turn your electric oven and stovetop elements off near the end of the cooking time. Their residual heat will finish cooking your meal.
  • If you use glass or ceramic bakeware, you can turn your oven’s temperature down 25 degrees and the food will cook just as quickly.
  • Choose pots and pans that are the same size as the stove’s burner for efficient stovetop cooking. Pans that are too small allow heat to escape from the uncovered part of the coil.
  • Remove all of the refrigerated items you’ll need for a recipe at once so you can open the refrigerator door less often.
  • Fully load your dishwasher before running it. Set its energy-saving features and use a cold-water rinse.
  • Instead of opening the oven door to check food’s progress, turn on the oven light and peek through the glass in the door. Every time you open the door, heat pours out and makes the oven work harder.
  • Schedule heat-producing chores like baking or doing the laundry after the hottest part of the day.
  • Use hot water sparingly in the summer — it produces heat and humidity. Wash clothes in cold water and dry outdoors when possible.
  • Use kitchen and bathroom fans to remove heat and moisture during and after cooking and bathing.
  • If you plan to remodel your home, isolate your water heater, washer and dryer from the cooled part of the house. Or, ask a heating contractor if you can install a door between these appliances and the rest of the home.
  • When replacing appliances, buy those with the ENERGY STAR labels. These appliances conserve energy and release less unwanted heat.
  • If you are home during the day, use a room fan to create a cooling breeze.
  • If you live in an area where evenings are cool, don’t forget about the cheapest cooling of all. Open your doors and windows, or run window fans. This will move cool air through your home for almost no cost.
  • Keep your thermostat set at a constant temperature. If you move it more than two degrees in either direction your heat pump will work harder.

Water Conservation Tips

Indoors

  1. Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry. You’ll not only save water, but energy as well.
  2. Take a shower instead of a bath. Filling the bathtub uses about 50 gallons of water and you can save 30 gallons by taking a shower.
  3. Shorten your shower to 5 minutes. Cut back on your shower time and you will rack up big savings in water and energy. Also, install a water-saving showerhead that uses 2.5 gallons/minute.
  4. Think before you flush. Every flush you eliminate can save between 2 and 7 gallons of water.
  5. Fix leaking faucets and toilets. An average of 8% of all home water use is wasted through leaks. Test for a leaking toilet by lifting the lid off the toilet tank and putting a few drops of food coloring into the bowl. Wait a few minutes, and then look in the bowl. If the food coloring has made its way there, you have a leak.

Outdoors

  1. Help your plants use less water. Cut back annuals and perennials during dry spells. They’ll bounce back when it rains again.
  2. Collect water to keep your valuable plants alive. You’ll be surprised at how much drips from your air conditioner, and at how much you catch in a rain barrel under your downspouts.
  3. Prioritize plants. When water is scarce, give it to your valuable or irreplaceable trees and shrubs first. Don’t worry about annuals and turf grasses that are easy to replace.
  4. Don’t stress your plants. Don’t fertilize when you can’t water it in. And set your mower blade higher than normal to help keep your lawn alive during a drought.
  5. Mulch. Cover the entire area from the trunk to the ends of the branches with pine straw, bark chips or shredded hardwood mulch. Use newspapers underneath to help the soil retain moisture.