Energy Saving Tips

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Cold Weather

Make the most of natural heat sources. Keep drapes and shades open during the daytime to allow the sun in and provide your home with additional natural heat.

Seal heating ducts. Over time, leaks develop in your heating ducts, which allow heat to escape before it is ventilated through your home. Sealing the leaks can reduce your heating costs, often by as much as 10%.

Maintain your heating and ventilation system. Have your heating system tuned and inspected annually by a service professional. A properly maintained system can save you up to 1-2% on your heating costs annually.

Add insulation to your home. Dramatically increase your home’s energy-efficiency by ensuring your walls and attic are properly insulated. Adding fiberglass insulation is one of the most cost-effective DIY energy-saving measures you can take.

Keep the thermostat at a constant level. Your home will not heat up any faster by raising the thermostat level. When the heating system is on, it runs at the same rate, regardless of the temperature setting.

Lower the thermostat 1° F. You can reduce your heating bill by 1-3% by making a 1° change in temperature. Many energy experts recommend setting the thermostat at 68° F, or less, and reducing it another several degrees overnight. If you are leaving your home for a few hours or more, be sure to lower the thermostat: You will use less energy to re-heat your home when you return than you would by keeping it warm when no one is home.

Buy an electric programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to set your home temperature according to the time of day. You can program it to automatically lower the thermostat during times when no one is home, as well as overnight, and then raise it again a few minutes before you get out of bed in the morning.

Keep outside doors closed. Try to minimize the number of times that doors to the outside are opened and closed. Each time you open a door, cold air enters your home. Also, close the chimney vent/flue. Heat can escape through an open chimney flue, so be sure to close it when you are not using the fireplace.

Use ceiling fans to help distribute heat evenly. Since heat rises, if you set ceiling fans at a slow speed, they will push warm air away from the ceiling and disperse it around the room without creating a breeze. This will spread the heat more evenly. Ceiling fans are inexpensive and the potential savings in energy costs make the purchase worthwhile.

Insulate hot water pipes. Wrap pipes that are readily accessible with insulation. This is easy to do and fairly inexpensive. One-half-inch foam or ¾” fiberglass insulation can be found at your local building supply store.

Insulate electrical outlets. Electrical outlets can be insulated by removing the outlet covers and inserting ready-made insulation pieces. Additionally, special insulation plugs can be installed on outlets that are not being used.

Install an Energy Star® heating system. If you are thinking about purchasing a new heating system, Energy Star® models are the most energy-efficient available. They will save you money and energy, and help the environment.

Hot Weather

Keep your thermostat at a constant, comfortable level (75° – 78°) when you are home. Drastically reducing the thermostat setting will not cool your home any faster.

Use appliances during the early morning or evening hours. Using the oven, washing machine, dryer and dishwasher when outside temperatures are cooler will reduce heat and moisture in your home. Also, use a microwave to cook, or barbecue outside, if possible.

Keep shades, blinds and curtains closed. About 40% of unwanted heat comes through windows. Simply drawing blinds and curtains, which act as a layer of insulation, can reduce heat gain. Also, window coatings, such as treated plastic sheets, reflect as much as 80% of direct rays from the sun.

Don’t place lamps or televisions near the air-conditioning thermostat. The heat from these appliances will cause the air conditioner to run longer.

Turn off all unnecessary lighting and appliances. Use fans to circulate cooled air. This will more evenly distribute cool air and can reduce the air conditioner’s usage time.

Place window air conditioners on the north or shady side of your house to avoid overworking the unit from the direct heat of the sun.

Replace the air-conditioner filter at the start of the cooling season and check its condition monthly.

Install or replace caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows to keep cool air inside.

When shopping for appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, look for the Energy Star label and purchase the most energy- efficient unit you can afford. These newer, more energy-efficient models will lower monthly operating costs and save you money in the long run.

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