Energy Savings You Can Count On Energy Savings You Can Count On

Energy savings is a hot topic in today's environmentally-conscious and uncertain economic times. Here are some ways to both save energy and save money on your energy bills.

How To Save Energy In Your Home

If you have a gas hot water heater, gas furnace, or a gas or electric over or stove, here are some tips that can produce real energy savings.

    * Clean the shiny burner reflectors to better reflect heat on your cooktop or range.
    * Clean gas burners occasionally. Food and grease can clog gas ports. The flame should be blue and even.
    * Resist opening the oven door to check on food. Each time you do you lose 25 percent of the heat in the oven.
    * Turn off electric burners a few minutes before the food is done. The heat left in the burner will finish the cooking process.
    * Use your range top or small cooking appliances rather than the oven to use less energy.
    * Turn down the temperature setting on your water heater. All you really need is 120- to 125-degree heat to meet your needs.
    * Insulate water heater tanks and hot water pipes.
    * Turn down your heat thermostat to 65 degrees while you are home, and 60 or 55 while you are away or asleep. This cuts heating bills by about 25 percent.
    * Close bedroom doors or heat registers during the day. Close off unused rooms. These measures can save about $50 per year.

Save Money on Water

It only takes a few minutes to perform most of these money-saving tips, both indoors and out.

    * Install low-flow aerators on faucets.
    * Purchase new low-flow, water-efficient toilets.
    * Take showers instead of baths. Showers use much less water.
    * Don’t use hot water while you are shaving.
    * Turn off running water while you brush your teeth.
    * Install a water-saving showerhead. This will save you about $40 per year.
    * Fix dripping water faucets, which can cost you more than $35 per year in wasted water. Usually this only requires an inexpensive new washer.
    * Use drip irrigation to water plants, shrubs and trees.
    * Use timers to regulate watering time. Don’t overwater. Most plants do better when they’re allowed to dry between waterings.
    * In drought-prone areas, or areas with mandatory conservation, only water twice per week, always early morning and late afternoon or early evening, as your water conservation measure require.

Save Money on Electric

When you are considering how to save energy and save on your electric bills, look first to your energy-consuming appliances. These tips will result in energy savings.

    * Refrigerator – Did you know that your refrigerator is the 3rd largest part of your energy bill? Buying a new, more efficient model (that carries the Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star label) can cut at least $100 per year from your electric bill. Always keep coils clean at the back or bottom of the refrigerator. Let food cool before you place it in the refrigerator. Don’t pack the refrigerator or freezer. Food needs space to allow air circulation. Cover liquids. This cuts down on humidity. Defrost items slowly in the refrigerator.
    * Dishwasher – Use your dryer’s energy savings cycle, if it has one. Use a cold-water rinse. Only wash full loads. Cut energy used by your dishwasher in half by not using the dry cycle. Instead, use the air-dry cycle for your dishes.
    * Washer and Dryer – Again, only wash full loads in the washing machine. But don’t overload. Wash clothes in cold water with a cold-water detergent. Only use hot water when it’s absolutely necessary. Keep dryer filters and vents clean. Use the lowest drying temperature possible to do the job. Dry consecutive loads to use the heat left from the previous load.
    * Air Conditioners – Turn down your air conditioner to 78 degrees or higher. You will save 15 percent or more on cooling over a 72-degree setting. Clean and replace AC filters once per month. Turn off the AC completely if you will be gone for several hours or days, or switch to the "energy saver" setting.

Energy Savings Tips for Lighting

Electric lights account for 10 to 15 percent of your electric bill.

    * Save money by turning off lights when not in use.
    * Use task lighting, such as a small lamp for reading, instead of lighting the whole room.
    * For larger areas, use a single 100-watt bulb. It actually provides more light than two 60-watt bulbs.
    * Use more efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). These can save about $40 per bulb over the life of the bulb.
    * Use dimmer controls and 3-way switches to further reduce energy use.
    * Outdoors, consider solar lighting for paths and walkways.

Other Save Money Tips

Saving money doesn’t have to be a headache. There are some other easy and inexpensive things you can do to create energy savings for yourself and your family.

    * Summer Cooling – Close shades during the day to reduce solar heat gain. Consider an awning or other outdoor shading device to reduce heat gain through windows by as much as 90 percent. Plant trees by windows on the sunny side of the house for natural heat-reducing shade. Leave storm windows on any windows that don’t need to be opened or on windows in air-conditioned rooms. Use cross ventilation: Put a fan blowing in a window on the cool side of the house. This pushes out hot air while it pulls cool air into the rest of the house.
    * Turn Off All Appliances – When not in use, or when you leave for a few days, be sure to unplug or turn off all appliances.
    * Open Shades and Curtains – You need to let in sunlight during the day—especially in winter, but remember to close shades and curtains at night to retain heat.
    * Lock windows – This tightens the seal and stops heat leaks.

Save Money on Gas – In Your Car

Use these money-saving tips to reduce your gasoline costs, creating overall energy savings while you use your automobile.

    * Get regular tune-ups according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. An added benefit is that you will also reduce harmful tailpipe emissions.
    * Keep tires properly inflated per the sticker on your door and owner’s operating manual instructions.
    * Run the air conditioner only when absolutely necessary.
    * Don’t open car windows at freeway or high speeds. Doing so creates drag and reduces gas mileage.
    * Don’t idle the car. Turn it off to save gas.

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