How Do I - Reduce My Utility Bill?
Summer Season Tips
- Set your thermostat at 78° or higher in the summer; one-degree change will increase your energy use by 3-5%.
- Use fans instead of, or in addition to, air conditioning. Remember to turn fans off when rooms are unoccupied.
- Close windows, drapes and blinds during the hottest times of the day.
- Turn on the exhaust fan in the kitchen when cooking and in the bathroom when showering. This reduces the amount of hot, moist air circulating in the house.
- Remember to turn the fan off after 20 minutes.
- Install a programmable thermostat to turn up the air conditioner at night or when you are away from home.
- Use your microwave or toaster oven instead of your full-size oven for cooking.
- Make sure AC window units are placed on the north side of your home. If it is placed on the south side, you’ll get more sun, which will cause the unit to run constantly.
- Plant shade trees in your yard for a natural source of cooling.
Winter Season Tips
- Set your thermostat at 68° or lower in the winter; one-degree change will increase your energy use by 3-5%.
- Heat pumps operate differently than other types of heating systems, so follow the recommendations for your particular heating system.
- If you have a furnace, install a programmable thermostat and set it to turn the heat down at night and when you’re away.
- Avoid using space heaters in large areas or for long periods of time. They are not nearly as efficient in heating large areas as your central unit.
- Make sure fireplaces are completely closed when not in use.
- Let the sunshine in: Open drapes and let the sun heat your home for free!
- Grow trees and shrubs near your house to break the force of the winter winds.
- Locate your thermostat on an inside wall away from drafts.
- Unplug electronics, or use a power strip and use the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance, to avoid "vampire" loads. Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These vampire loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as DVD players, TVs, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances.
- Check for air leaks in duct systems, fireplace dampers, attic hatches, baseboards and around windows and doors.
- 1/3 of a home’s total heat loss is through unsealed windows and doors.
- Install weather stripping along the door-frame and a door sweep on the bottom of the door.
- To seal windows, use plastic window film, available at home-improvement stores. Seal window edges and cracks with caulk. If windows are old and leaky, consider buying new energy-efficient windows.
- Insulate your home. If your home has little or no insulation, look into adding some.
- Replace conventional light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). CFLs use a fraction of the energy that traditional bulbs use and can be found at home-improvement stores.
- Clean or replace air filters once a month or as needed.
- Install a simple filter whistle to let you know when it’s time to change your filter.
- Purchase energy efficient products when replacing appliances and heating and cooling systems. Look for ENERGY STAR® products.
- Set your water heater to 120°. Most manufacturers set the temperature at 140°, but many families operate comfortably at 120°. Not only does this save money, it also reduces the risk of hot water scalding.
- To save additional energy, install a low-flow shower head and limit showers to 5 minutes.
- Be sure furniture and/or curtains are not blocking heating/cooling vents.
- Clean the dryer filter after every load.
- Repair leaky faucets and toilets immediately.
- A constantly running toilet may waste about 8 gallons/hour or 200 gallons/day. Left unnoticed, a running toilet could waste over 6,000 gallons/month.
- Postpone dish-washing and laundry until later in the evening; hang laundry outside to dry if possible.
- Peak hours are from 3-6 p.m. in the summer and 7-10 a.m. in the winter.