Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
With The Increase In Cost Of Utilities How Can I Conserve My Energy Use?
Rate This FAQ
(First in a two-part series)
Energy costs are increasing dramatically. The average family can expect to see a 29 percent increase in utility bills this winter. Did you know that the energy being generated for use in the home also increases air pollution? Here are a few inexpensive energy-efficient measures, you can use to reduce your energy bills by 10 to 50 percent and at the same time save energy and reduce air pollution.
Control Indoor Temperatures: You can save as much as 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10-15 percent for eight hours every day. Reduce daytime home heating temperatures in winter to 68 degrees F or lower.
Many of the following tips lead to energy efficiency in summer as well as in winter.
* When you leave the house for more than four hours set the thermostat back to 60 degrees.
* When you go on vacation, set the thermostat back to 55 degrees.
* Reduce nighttime temperature 5 to 8 degrees or more.
* During the day, open draperies and roll up shades on windows that face south, east, and west to receive direct heat from the sun in winter.
* Place furniture so that it does not block heat registers or outlets.
Control Air Leaks: Energy lost through air leaks can be decreased.
* Caulk cracks around doors, windows, foundation, and the fireplace.
* Close door of attached garage in winter.
* Close the flue when fireplace is not in use.
* Weatherstrip doors and windows.
* Lock your windows so they seal tighter.
* Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans only when necessary.
* Seal unused doors and rooms.
* Insulate ceilings, walls, floors and basement walls adequately.
* Install storm windows and doors.
* Use plastic tightly sealed to the inside of window frames.
* Select a heating system properly sized for house.
* Seal leaks in ductwork.
* Insulated all ducts in exposed areas.
* Maintain heating and cooling equipment in good operating condition.
* Keep air filters clean to make it easier for forced air systems to operate.
* Arrange with heating/cooling dealer for yearly maintenance.
Manage Your Equipment Wisely
* Reduce the amount of hot water used.
* Insulate hot water pipes.
* Maintain a setting of 110-120 degrees F on water heater thermostat. Refer to your owner's manual for proper setting. If in doubt, test the temperature of water coming from the tap. Note: If your dishwasher does not have a booster heating element, keep water heater temperature at 140 degrees F.
* Repair leaky faucets, especially hot water leaks.
* Use as much natural light as possible.
* Use fluorescent lights whenever possible as they are more efficient than incandescent lights.
* Turn off unnecessary lights, indoors and out.
* Reduce lighting levels to minimum for tasks to be performed.
* Use bulbs with lower wattage in halls, stairways and other areas of general illumination.
* Use light colors in decorating to improve lighting efficiency.
* Do tasks that require high light levels during daylight hours when possible. Keep lighting fixtures clean.
* Use timers to turn lights on in the evening rather than leave lights on all day when no one is home.
* Install dimmer switches wherever possible.
Submit Your Suggestion
(Second in a two-part series)
Here are more inexpensive, energy-efficient measures you can use around your home to reduce your energy bills by 10 to 50 percent and at the same time save energy and reduce air pollution.
* Turn off the dishwasher during the drying cycle and allow dishes to air dry.
* Don't run hot water continuously while washing or rinsing dishes by hand.
* Wash only full loads of laundry.
* Use water no hotter than necessary for adequate soil removal and sanitation.
* Use cold water for rinsing clothes.
* Use good laundry techniques to obtain satisfactory results in one washing process.
* Avoid over-drying in the dryer.
* Vent the dryer to the outside.
* When using the dryer, use the automatic setting that determines when clothes are dry and shuts off the dryer.
* Line dry garment and household items when practical.
* Use the dryer efficiently. Avoid drying one or two items at one time. Dry consecutive loads.
* Remove items when dryer stops to avoid unnecessary wrinkling which requires pressing.
* Clean the lint filter after each load. Minimize ironing by choosing garments with easy care requirements.
Cooking and Baking
* Never use the oven or cook top as a room heater.
* Use oven to capacity. Cook more than one dish or one meal at a time.
* Use a cooking utensil that fits the electric unit or gas burner.
* Use tight-fitting lids on cooking utensils when appropriate.
* Reduce heat to lowest setting possible to maintain necessary cooking temperature when using surface units or burner.
* Use small appliances for cooking, baking and toasting. They are often more efficient than the range for small amounts.
* Preheat oven only when necessary. Do not preheat longer than needed to attain required temperature.
* When cooking with electricity, turn off the oven, surface units or burners shortly before food has completed cooking.
* Do not be an "oven peeper." Each time you open the oven door, you lose heat.
* Locate cooling appliances away from a heat source such as the range, hot air register or direct sunlight.
Refrigeration-Refrigerator and Freezer
* Avoid opening door or holding it open unnecessarily.
* Vacuum grills and evaporator coils to keep clean.
* If cold air is leaking around door, have door adjusted or gasket replaced.
Recreation and Entertainment
* Turn off the TV, radio or stereo when no one is really watching or listening.
* Disconnect an instant-on TV when you are not going to be using it regularly.
* Spend vacations closer to home.
* Use shop or hobby equipment efficiently.
* Don't let the water run unnecessarily while you shave, brush your teeth or wash your hair.
* Turn off personal care appliances after each use.
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- How can I prevent identity theft?
- How can I complain about a product I purchased that is not working right?
- Do you have some tips for spring house cleaning?
- How can I keep my home more secure?
- How can I better budget for the holidays?
- How can I find a reliable contractor for spring repairs?
- What are some red flags that warn of a potentially dangerous relationship?
- I have a problem with what I think are black ants. I used to use Fluorguard Ant Bait Stations, which worked very well. Unfortunately, they have been pulled from the market and are no longer available. Can you recommend another good treatment product? Currently, I'm considering Maxforce Carpenter Ant Gel (which supposedly works on black ants), and Gourmet Ant Bait Gel.