Energy Efficiency Tips
The cost of an appliance is more than what is on the tag at the store. Keep in mind the below energy tips you can use to limit the energy it uses.
A few changes in habit can help save some energy when using your washer: less water and colder water.
- Whenever possible, try to maximize the size of laundry load being washed. If not possible, adjust water settings accordingly.
- Always do your best to wash your clothes in cold water. The biggest portion of electricity use while running your washer comes from heating the water.
Efficiency of use is the key to maximizing your energy savings when employing your dryer.
- Be sure to clean the lint catcher after each cycle for improved efficiency.
- Your dryer’s moisture sensor will help save energy by stopping the cycle when your clothes are dry and will help prevent over drying of your fabrics.
- Take advantage of ambient heat buildup and run subsequent loads of laundry on lower heat settings.
- Ever consider air drying your laundry?
Less water is best. The biggest pull on energy when using your dishwasher comes from having to heat the water.
- If you are not going to wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher consider washing by hand.
- Always use your air-dry setting.
- Never use the “rinse hold” option if available. This option runs through several gallons of hot water each operation.
Chances are that your fridge is working harder than it needs to.
- Recommended temperature for your refrigerator is between 35 and 38 degrees.
- Periodically check the seal on your door. Shut a sheet of paper halfway in the door and try pulling it out. If the paper can be easily removed, you will want to repalce all latches and seals.
- Let food cool before placing it in the fridge. Hot food heats up what is around it and forces the fridge to work harder to cool it down.
- All food and liquids need to be stored in air-tight containers. Any excess moisture in your fridge has an adverse impact on your refrigerator’s compressor unit.
Heating and Cooling
Your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning System (HVAC) is the number one power user in your home, accounting for more than 50% of your electricity usage. A few adjustments with your HVAC can help you save significantly. Remember, saving energy is not just about lowering your electric bill, it also diminishes your impact on the environment – a win win.
- Air filters should be replaced monthly to allow your system to run efficiently.
- While changing your air filters also check that your vents are clean and open.
- Be sure no high grass or debris is blocking airflow at your outdoor unit. Also, wash the outside coils as you would an indoor vent.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat.
- Have your whole system checked routinely for up to date maintenance standards. Leaks at the ductwork can increase your energy bill as much as 15%
- Utilize blinds, solar screens, and drapes as a means to inhibit or allow sunlight into your home as a natural source of heating or cooling.
- Save energy year-round by using fans to maintain comfortable temperature, humidity and air movement.
- Set your air conditioner thermostat as high as comfortable – we recommend 78ºF or higher when you’re at home, and 85ºF when you’re gone.
Lighting accounts for 5% of the average household's overall energy use. In the dark on how to save and cut back? Well, enlighten yourself with these tips. Show your family how bright you can be.
- Replacing your home's five most frequently used light bulbs with models that have earned the Energy Star can save you $75 each year.
- A traditional incandescent bulb, on average, costs $4.80 to operate for a year. In comparison, an Energy Star LED bulb’s operating cost is $1.00, $3.50 for a halogen bulb, and $1.20 for an Energy Star CFL bulb.
- The initial investment for an Energy Star lightbulb is typically higher than the cost of a standard incandescent but the cost to operate the same newer bulb over the course of a year is less. CFL bulbs, which replace standard incandescent bulbs, tend to pay for themselves with energy savings in 9 months.
- Be mindful of a room's purpose and the atmosphere you would like to create when selecting the bulb and wattage to be used.
- Fixtures with multiple fittings using low wattage bulbs will use more energy than single fitting fixtures using a higher wattage bulb. More lights equal more power used.
- Invest in motion sensors, timers, and dimmer switches as ways to control/restrict usage.
- When you have a choice between a lamp or overhead lighting choose the lamp.
- Keep bulbs clean. A dirty bulb can restrict up to half the light.
- When an option, always choose natural lighting.
- Turn your lights off.
Energy saving isn’t just about what happens inside the confines of your home. As a matter of fact, energy saving can begin at the onset of your driveway, property line, or wherever your landscaping begins. Calculatedly placed trees and shrubs can save up to 25% of the energy the average household uses. Cool roofs can reduce the temperature on the surface of the roof by as much as 30%. Also, did you know an average pool can cost $300.00 to $500.00 to operate in just electricity.
- Intentionally place trees and shrubs to allow for maximum shade to roofs, walls, and windows but still allow for penetration of low-angle winter sun.
- Planting shrubs, bushes, and vines next to your house helps creates air spaces that can insulate your home in both winter and summer. Avoid locating planting beds close to the home if they require frequent watering.
- Evergreen trees and shrubs that are placed properly and maintained create windbreaks which can reduce heating costs considerably.
- A cool roof is one that has been designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof.
- A Standard roof can reach temperatures of 150°F or more during summer months. A cool roof under the same conditions could stay more than 50°F cooler and will help save energy by reducing air conditioning use.
- Cool roofs can help you save in addition to the energy costs such as rebates and incentives, HVAC equipment downsizing, and extended roof lifetime.
- Evaporation is one of the biggest sources of heat loss for a homeowner’s pool. Evaporation can be reduced by covering your pool (preferably with a solar cover) when not in use and by installing a windbreak on the fencing around your pool.
- Install a pump timer and set it to run during off peak hours.
- Reduce the strain on your pool pump by using a cartridge filter.
- Clean your pool. Keep the water clean. The more work you put in the less the system has to.
- Outdoor lighting should not be treated differently than indoor. Install CFL or LED bulbs and set them on either timers or motion detectors. Preferably timers for CFL bulbs and motion detectors for LED.
Sealing And Insulation
If there was a hole in your wallet leaking out 10%-20% of your money annually you would get it fixed, right? Well, why is your home any different? Heating and cooling bills are affected, 10%-20% annually.
- Prior to adding or upgrading insulation look for potential places air may be escaping. Addressing the problem area is likely a cheaper fix than just covering it up.
- Can you see daylight coming from your doorframe? if so, it is time to replace weather – stripping.
- Spiders and their webs are a good indicator of a likely air leak nearby. Spiders like to establish their webs by flowing air which allows other insects to blow in and out.
- Look for dirty insulation. The dirt is getting to the insulation from somewhere.
- Curtains, drapes, or blinds moving when there is no air running would be indicative of an air leak.
- Research has identified recessed lighting as the leading cause of household air leaks. It is common for most recessed lights to have vents that open into the attic, a direct route for heated or cooled air to escape. Insulate around your recessed lighting.
- In older homes, it is common to have a gap between a brick chimney and the wood framing. This gap creates a stream of air running out of and into your home. It Is likely you would only have access to seal these gaps in your attic or basement.
- Clothing dryer vents can be a twofold problem. Improperly sealed (from the outside) these vents are a large source of air loss. Clogs or leaks in the ductwork are also fire hazards.
- Other common air loss “problem areas” include:
- Plumbing Vents
- Open Soffits
- Windows and Doors
- Duct Registers
- Dropped Soffits
- Since every home is different, there is not a "cure-all" solution for stopping air loss – vigilance is your best option.