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Energy saving tips that lower your energy costs

 

 

Summer

 Around the House:

      Longer days mean shorter nights. Don't forget to adjust your outdoor lighting timers. You'll save money and extend bulb life.

      Keep your home comfortable without air conditioning on all but the hottest days.

      Keep windows closed in the heat of the day. Open windows in the cool of the night.

      Resist opening and closing doors. Shut the door or at least try to minimize the number of times that doors to the outside are opened and closed. Each time you open the door heat enters the house.

      Close the curtains. Close drapes and shades on windows during the day to keep heat from the sun out of your house (particularly on windows with an eastern and western exposure). In the evening opening drapes and shades lets the heat escape through the windows.

      Insulation in your attic protects your home from excessive heat penetration in summer and cold penetration in winter. Invest in attic insulation for year-round comfort and efficiency.

      Make sure roof ventilation is adequate to prevent heat buildup in summer and moisture buildup in winter.

      Use floor and ceiling fans to create gentle breezes to keep you and your family comfortable.

      Use compact fluorescent lighting wherever you can. Compact fluorescents use very little energy and produce much less waste heat than incandescent and halogen lights.

In the Kitchen:

      Turn on your range hood when cooking to exhaust waste heat from your home. Coordinate meal planning with the seasons. Remember, nothing tastes better than a cold meal on a hot day.

      Keep your oven door tightly closed. Use the oven light to check on progress when baking or roasting.

      Select right-sized pots and pans with tight-fitting lids and cook at lower temperatures to reduce energy use. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch element, for example, wastes 40% of the element's heat output.

      Make full use of microwave ovens in hot weather. Microwave cooking can reduce energy consumption by two-thirds and produces much less waste heat than your stove. Toaster ovens and slow cookers are also a great way to reduce energy use in the kitchen. 

      When you run the dishwasher use full loads. Use your range hood when the dishwasher is operating to vent excess heat and humidity outdoors.

      Avoid activities that add heat or humidity to your home, particularly during the hottest parts of the day or limit them to times when nobody is home. For example, turn on your dishwasher as you leave the house or let dishes air dry rather than use the dishwasher's heater.

      Vacuum your refrigerator's cooling coils every three months. Excessive dust buildup will reduce the energy efficiency and life expectancy of the compressor. Make sure there are no gaps in the door seal.

      Don't overfill your refrigerator-freezer; cool air needs to circulate freely throughout the interior of the appliance.

In the Laundry Room:

      Don't use your washing machine for a few small items; wait for a full load. Use the cold water cycle whenever possible

      Clean the clothes dryer filter after each load, and clean the dryer duct regularly. Clogged filters and ducts restrict airflow, decrease energy efficiency and can be a fire hazard.

Air Conditioning:

      Inspect and maintain your cooling system. Simple measures such as cleaning and replacing clogged air filters can reduce cooling costs up to 10%. An annual service call will extend the life of your expensive cooling equipment and boost efficiency.

      Don't forget cooling system ductwork. Leaking joints, elbows and connections can boost energy consumption 20 to 30%. Use duct mastic to seal loose joints.

      Adjust your air conditioner's thermostat when you go out, and shut your system down when you are away for extended periods. Unnecessary cooling costs money.

      Walk away from the thermostat. Your house won't cool down any faster if you lower the thermostat setting. When your air conditioner is on it cools at the same rate regardless of the temperature setting.

      Open the doors. A breeze on a summer day can be enough to keep you cool. Instead of turning the air conditioner on, open doors and windows on opposite sides of the house for cross ventilation.

      When using your air conditioner, close all windows, doors and chimney dampers when using your air conditioner. Don't use your hard-earned money to cool the great outdoors. Unused rooms should be closed off to cut cooling costs.

      Raise the thermostat. Raising the thermostat just 6F can save 10% on your cooling bill. To compensate, the breeze created by a ceiling fan or portable fan typically makes you feel just as comfortable at a temperature 6F warmer.

      Dehumidifier Benefits. Consider using a dehumidifier instead of turning on the air conditioning. You will be comfortable at much higher temperatures if you reduce the humidity.

      Vacuum dehumidifier evaporation coils. Dust builds up on the evaporation coils of every dehumidifier after steady use, causing them to use more energy. Unplug yours and vacuum the coils every 6-12 months.

      Wash/change dehumidifier filters. Dirty filters cause dehumidifiers to use more energy with poorer results. Replace your disposable or wash your permanent filter at least yearly.

 

Winter

 

By now, you've probably heard the bad news—home heating prices are likely to rise by 30 to 50% this winter (which is forecast to be a cold one). But there is some good news as well. There are some simple steps that you can take around your home that can save you money while you keep yourself and your family warm and toasty.

Many households could save 20-30 percent on their household energy bills by implementing energy efficiency improvements. As an added bonus, you get to help the planet by saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Simple things you can do:

      Turn your thermostat down several degrees when leaving the house for the day or extended periods of time. One easy way to do this is to purchase a programmable thermostat. You can also save by turning the thermostat down a couple of degrees all the time

      Make sure your water heater is in good condition and keep the water temperature between 115-120 degrees. Even consider getting a tankless water heater that only heats the water you need.

      Limit your time spent in the shower to cut down on hot water usage. You can also install aerators to save on the amount of water you use while showering - this will cut down on the amount of hot water you use.

      Try and use cold water as often as possible when doing the laundry and line or rack dry your clothes - here is an example of a large drying rack you might wish to use - other racks are readily available at your local hardware or home stores.

      Make sure to turn off the lights when you are not in a room.

      Shut the doors to rooms you don't use on a regular basis.

      Keep baseboards clean and unrestricted by furniture and carpet or drapes

      Use the smallest oven or burner when cooking, or a crock pot, or use the smallest pan possible.

      Don't peek into the oven as you are cooking.

      Defrost foods in the refrigerator before cooking.

      Use compact fluorescent light bulbs in standard fixtures.

      Replace or clean your furnace filters monthly. This could save up to 5% on your heating bill

Long-term energy saving investments:

      Buy Green - many utilities offer rebates in return for purchasing efficient appliances through the Federal Government's Energy Star program.

      Seal up your home. Seal air leaks and add insulation.

      Weatherize your windows.

      Upgrade your windows. Look for windows with multiple layers of glazing, and approved by the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council), a non-profit collaboration of window manufacturers.

      When buying a new furnace or boiler, make sure you purchase one with a more efficient AFUE or adjusted fuel utilization efficiency. The AFUE is the amount of heat actually delivered to your house compared to the amount of fuel that you supply the furnace. Thus, a furnace that has an 80% AFUE rating converts 80% of the fuel that you supply to heat -- the other 20% is lost out of the chimney. All Energy Star approved furnaces have AFUE ratings of 90% or more.

 

 

Help sometimes comes at a price or with a hidden agenda, but our helpful guides have neither. We hope that the information in our Leewood Times Guides give you starting points and focus. Our goal is to assist you in making informed decisions.

Here are the links to all the Leewood Times Guides

 

345 Money Saving Tips

Leewood Times 75 Money Saving Travel Tips

Leewood Times 2008 Winter Guide

Leewood Times Bar-B-Que Tips & Tricks

Leewood Times Employment Guide

Leewood Times Energy Saving Tips Winter / Summer

Leewood Times Guide to Credit Repair

Leewood Times Guide to Fall Festivals

Leewood Times Guide to Going Green

Leewood Times Guide to Holiday Entertaining

Leewood Times Guide to Local Farmers Markets

Leewood Times Guide to New Years Resolutions

Leewood Times Guide to Seasonal Allergies & Pollen

Leewood Times Guide to Spring Cleaning

Leewood Times Guide to the Capital Beltway

Leewood Times Guide to Volunteering

Leewood Times Guide to Voting

Leewood Times Spring Yard Maintenance Tips

Leewood Times Summer Fun Guide

 

 

 

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