Low Cost/No Cost Tips

There are many things we can do in our own homes to save energy, which will in turn, help save money on your electric bill, help save the environment and keep you more comfortable.

No Cost/Low Cost Energy Conservation
Comparing Electric Bills
Water Beds
Water Heaters
Clothes Washers and Dryers

No Cost/Low Cost Energy Conservation

Go room by room and do a mini energy audit of your home. Follow the checklist below and you are on you way to savings. The power is in your hands!

    • Keep furnace clean and maintained
    • Continue to dial down
    • Dust-free ducts and return grilles
    • Close fireplace damper when not in use
    • Regular inspection of fireplace needed
    • Install water heater wrap
    • Reduce water heater thermostat
    • Drain one gallon of water from bottom of water heater tank periodically to remove sediment
    • Use correct drying cycles in laundry room
    • Repair leaky faucets and toilets immediately
    • Install flow restrictors
    • Cook efficiently on the range
    • Keep heat in the oven-never use it to heat the room
    • Door gaskets on refrigerators/freezers should seal tightly
    • Follow maintenance requirements on all large appliances
    • Turn off appliances not being used
    • Research new appliances for energy efficiency
    • Close curtains to reduce heat loss through windows
    • Open curtain to absorb solar energy
    • Caulk, weather strip and insulate
    • Utilize solar heat with landscaping, awnings, etc.

Comparing Electric Bills

It is easy to draw a false conclusion if you compare your electric bill to your neighbor’s. Your bill may be higher than your neighbor’s even though your house is smaller. It may be lower than the neighbors on the other side of the road even though your house is larger. It will help you to always remember that you pay for what you use – no more, no less.

There are many reasons why one family may use more electricity than another, even though they may have the same appliances and the same or fewer number of people at home, the following reasons will help you realize your consumption of electricity.

    • One person may open a refrigerator twice as often as another. Each time the door opens, cold air rushes out, causing the refrigerator to replace it. Temperature settings also make a significant difference.
    • One family may keep its freezer full, another may have very little food in the freezer. An empty freezer runs more than a full one.
    • Electric ranges use electricity according to the type and number of meals prepared. In addition, one family may cook on ‘high’ heat most of the time, while a neighbor conserves electricity by turning the burners down when cooling.
    • No two families have or do the same amount of washing or ironing. One may wash once a week, while the other may wash daily. Every washing and ironing adds to an electric bill.
    • The amount of hot water used varies from family to family. Cold water clothes washing and full laundry and dishwasher loads require less hot water. One family may bathe or shower daily, or longer, or more often. One hot water heater may be turned down to 120 degrees, while a neighbor’s may be set at 140 degrees. How far a water heater is from the washing machine or shower can also make a difference.
    • The efficiency of heating systems varies. Even a two degree or three-degree variance in the thermostat setting will make a dramatic difference in the amount of energy used.

Water Heaters

It’s probably tucked away in a corner of your basement where it’s easily forgotten!

If you have an electric water heater, it can account for 25 to 30 percent of your monthly energy bill. Use hot water wisely and heat water more efficiently. Here’s how:

    • Wrap your water heater in insulation to cut the heat loss. A properly insulated tank could save $8 to $20 per year. If you’re buying a new heater, look for a high efficiency unit.
    • Insulate the hot water pipe running from your water heater and the first five feet of the cold water pipe. Some heat is conducted into the cold water pipe near the heater, so it should be insulated too.
    • Reduce water heater temperature to 120 degrees or 140 degrees if you have a dishwasher and it isn’t equipped with its own heater. Adjust thermostat equally on both heating units.
    • Fix leaky hot water faucets. One drop per second can waste 192 gallons of water a month. Enough for 12 showers.
    • Drain about one gallon of water from the bottom of the water heater every six months to remove hard water deposits.
    • A water-saving showerhead uses about one third less water, yet produces about the same force as a standard showerhead. Flow restrictors on faucets can help too. They can pay for themselves in energy savings in as little as two months.
    • A shower uses less hot water than a bath – if it’s a short one – five minutes or less.
    • One person could use approximately 125 kWh per month for electric water heating.
    • A family of four could use between 400-600 kWh or $58-$85 per month for electric water heating.

Clothes Washers and Dryers

Your clothes washer takes a lot of blame for being a big energy user, but the real villain is the hot water it uses. A load of laundry washed in cold water costs about two to three cents. A pretty good deal. The same load in hot water, hot rinse costs about 20 times more! Obviously, using warm or cold wash and cold rinse cycles whenever possible can make a big difference in your laundry energy bill.

Here are some other laundry room tips:

    • Wash only full loads, but don’t overload the washer. Match the water level to the size of the load.
    • Pre-soaking soiled spots and using the correct amount of detergent will get clothes cleaner.
    • Clean the dryer lint screen before each load. Lint blocks airflow and causes the dryer to run longer.
    • Don’t dry quick-dry fabrics like synthetics and permanent press-in the same load with heavy fabrics. Use only the time needed to dry that load.
    • Don’t over dry it not only wastes energy, but shortens fabric life and generates static electricity.
    • Dry only properly sized loads. An overloaded dryer will require more time and energy to dry properly.
    • Maximize the use of heat by drying one load right after the next.

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