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Residential Services - Energy Saving Tips
There are lots of ways to reduce your energy use, and thereby reduce your energy costs. Most of the tips below involve simple adjustments to your daily life or quick do-it-yourself projects. Once you have good equipment properly installed in your home, it’s easy to keep heating, cooling, and plumbing systems operating at their optimum levels.
General Tips to Reduce Utility Bills
1. Make sure heaters and air conditioners are installed correctly. Heating and cooling systems that do not operate properly can significantly raise energy bills.
2. Have your heating and cooling systems checked at least once a year by a professional who can diagnose any problems and make the proper adjustments or repairs.
3. Use a programmable thermostat to maintain a reasonable temperature in your home throughout the year. You reduce energy costs by 5% to 10% annually for each degree you raise your thermostat in summer, and for each degree you lower it in winter.
4. Air-seal and insulate your house to prevent heating and cooling loss. Make sure all places in your house where outside air can leak in (and vise versa) are sealed. Insulate your walls, floors, and ceilings (especially in the attic), as well as all air ducts.
5. Clean or replace heater and air conditioner filters every month.
Tips to Reduce Heating Bills
1. Replacing an old boiler with a new, more efficient one that reduces gas consumption by 20% can save between 5 and 10 cents per square foot annually on your heating bill (not to mention reduce carbon dioxide emissions).
2. At night, or when you will be away from your home for a while, lower your thermostat several degrees.
3. Make sure all doors and windows are tightly shut when the heat is on, and make sure nothing is covering the source of the heat.
4. Beware of fireplaces. The majority of heat produced by wood-burning fires is lost up the chimney and does not contribute to heating your home. Also, make sure the flue is closed when not in use to prevent hot air from escaping through it.
5. Keep your water heater at a temperature no higher than 120 to 125 degrees F (most water heaters have a default temperature around 140 degrees F). It is estimated that each 10 degree reduction in water temperature corresponds to a savings of between 3% and 5% in energy costs annually.
Tips to Reduce Cooling Bills
1. Before you turn on the air conditioner, try opening the window first - sometimes all you need is a breeze.
2. Install a new air conditioner. New air conditioners are more efficient than older ones, and can save up to 60% on energy bills. Note that an air conditioner’s efficiency—that is, how effectively it uses electricity—is indicated by its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner, and the lower your energy bills will be.
3. Ventilation is the most energy-efficient way to keep your home cool in summer. Use a combination of open windows and fans (such as window fans, ceiling fans and stand-alone fans) for maximum ventilation and air circulation.
4. Install window treatments, such as shades and curtains that can be closed to block out direct sunlight.
5. When you leave your home, turn off air conditioners or raise the thermostat several degrees. Leave air conditioners off or put them on a low setting in rooms that will be unoccupied for a while.
Tips to Reduce Water Use
1. Make sure your dishwasher is full before turning it on.
2. Only wash full loads of laundry, and instead of hot water, try to use warm or cool water. If you must wash a partial load, adjust the water level of your washer to reduce the amount it uses.
3. Use low-flow showerheads and water restrictors on faucets to minimize water use. They tend to be inexpensive and are easy to install. Water flow should be limited to a flow rate of less than 3 gallons per minute (gpm).
4. Leaks can waste a lot of water; a leak of one drip per second can cost up to $1 per month! Do routine checks for leaks in your faucets and pipes and make repairs as needed.
5. Turn the water off while you are brushing your teeth, flossing and shaving.