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Energy Saving Tips

save energyAppliance Energy Saving Tips

Every home is a complex energy system- from hot water and air conditioning, to cooking, lighting, heating, refrigeration and entertainment. Energy management- the efficient use of energy- is often the result (or part) of sound energy conservation practices.

But conservation alone does not always reflect good energy management, especially where electricity is concerned. Because alternating current (AC) electricity can’t be stored, the time it is used becomes important. For example, using electricity during off-peak hours does not conserve electricity, but is a wise management of this energy resource.

According to the U.S. Counsel for Energy Awareness, the average family spends between $2,000 to $4,000 each year directly for energy. By applying the following energy guidelines and appliance-use tips, you could easily save big bucks annually.

Use these links to learn more about saving energy.

Air Conditioner Energy Saver Tips

tipsAcToday, 64 percent of American homes have air conditioners. But they use a large amount of electricity. On an average summer day, air conditioners provide enough cold air to produce 16 trillion ice cubes!!

  • Air conditioners are evaluated in two ways- by cooling capacity and by energy efficiency ratio (EER). Cooling capacity is the amount of heat (measured in Btu) that an air conditioning unit can remove from the air in one hour. A 12,000 Btu air conditioner will remove 12,000 Btu of heat from an area every hour. As a general rule, 18 Btu removed per hour will cool about one square foot of a normal home. EER is the number of Btu of heat that one watt of electrical energy will remove from the air in one hour. The EER is determined by dividing the capacity in Btu per hour of a unit by its required power in watts. You should try to buy an air conditioner with an EER of 8 or above.
  • To cool your house efficiently, your air conditioner has to be cool. So try to keep it in the shade. An air conditioner exposed to direct sunlight will use 5 percent more energy than a shaded one. 
  • Turn the air conditioner off when you leave the house for several hours or more. Set your home’s thermostat as high as possible- the recommended minimum energy- efficient summer temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Care for the coils. If they’re dirty, dusty or clogged with leaves, vacuum them with your household vacuum cleaner. If the attachment on the vacuum won’t fit between the coils, reverse the air flow and blow the dirt away instead.
  • Don’t forget the filters. A clogged filter can cause an air conditioner to use up to 5 percent more energy. Permanent filters should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Disposable filters should be replaced at least once at the beginning of the cooling season.
Dishwasher Energy Saver Tips

tipsDishwasherA load of dishes cleaned in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand, if you leave the water running. But dishwashers commonly use water heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than any other water used in your home. Dishwashing is a surprisingly energy intensive activity, which leaves lots of room for conservation practices.

  • More than 80 percent of the energy your dishwasher uses is for heating water. Wash only full loads for increased energy savings. Also, use short cycles for everything but the dirtiest dishes.
  • If your dishwasher has an air dry setting, choose it instead of the heat dry setting. You’ll knock at least 15 percent (and in some cases as much as 50 percent) off the energy your automatic dishwasher uses. If there’s no air dry setting, turn off the dishwasher after its final rinse and open the door. The dishes will dry without using any extra electricity. 
  • Rinse dishes with cold water before loading them.
  • Install your dishwasher away from your refrigerator. The dishwasher’s heat and moisture make the fridge work harder. If you have to put them next to each other, a sheet of foam insulation can minimize the impact.
Dryer Energy Saver Tips

tipsDryerThe energy efficiency of a clothes dryer depends on unobstructed air circulation around your clothes. So keep the lint filter and exhaust hose clean.Best advice: clean the lint filter after each load.

  • Dry full loads, but don’t overload your dryer. Clothes need room to tumble so air can circulate around them.
  • If your dryer has a moisture sensor setting, use it. It will shut off the dryer automatically when clothes are dry.
  • Don’t add wet items to a load that’s already partly dry.
  • Dry heavy and light fabrics separately. This way, all the clothes in the load will be done at once.
  • Don’t leave the dryer on longer than necessary. Often, clothes are already dry, but no one runs down to the basement to shut the dryer off. Overdrying clothes wears down fabric in addition to wasting electricity.
  • Try a clothesline-it’s old-fashioned, but energy free!
Ironing Energy Saver Tips

tipsIronA hand iron consumes as much energy as ten 100-watt light bulbs when it is on. These steps can increase ironing efficiency:

  • Buy “no iron” sheets and clothing and use the permanent press cycle on your washer and dryer.
  • Remove your clothing promptly from the dryer and hang carefully. Many items will require no ironing.
  • Iron large batches of clothing at one time.
  • Iron low-temperature fabrics first to reduce warm-up time.
  • Prevent scorching and wasting energy by not overheating the iron.
  • Hang clothes in the bathroom while you shower–the steam often smoothes wrinkles.
  • If interrupted when ironing, be sure to turn off your iron.
Oven/Microwave Energy Saver Tips

tipsOvenEvery time you open your oven door during cooking, you lose 25 degrees-or more. Microwaves use almost 50 percent less energy than a conventional oven; they’re most efficient for small portions or defrosting. Stove-top cooking is more efficient for larger items. Pressure cookers are considerably more energy efficient than regular ovens.

Here are some other energy saving oven/cooking tips:

  • Test the thermostat in your oven to be sure it measures temperatures accurately. Chances are, it doesn’t.
  • Check the reflectors under your stove top burners. The cleaner they are, the better they’ll reflect heat. The best reflectors on the market can save as much as 33 percent of the energy used when cooking on top of the stove.
  • Inspect the seal on the oven door for cracks. Even a small gap allows enough room for a lot of heat to escape.
  • According to the book “The Smart Kitchen”, ceramic baking dishes retain heat better than others and allow you to lower the oven temperature 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Clean self-cleaning ovens right after use, to take advantage of residual heat.
  • And as obvious as it sounds, don’t operate the oven with the door open.
Refrigerator Energy Saver Tips

tipsFridgeYour refrigerator requires more energy than any other household appliance. In the U.S., refrigerators use 7 percent of the nation’s total electricity. These tips can help your “fridge” run more efficiently:

  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer at the right temperature. Even if they’re only 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder than necessary, your energy consumption will go up an amazing 25 percent! Your refrigerator should be between 38 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Make sure the door is tightly sealed. Check the gasket (rubber seal) for cracks and dried-on food. One easy way to test the seal is to close the door on a piece of paper and then try to pull the paper out. If it slides out easily, it’s a sure sign cold air is escaping.
  • Another way to check is the flashlight test. Place a lighted flashlight inside the refrigerator, close the door and turn out the lights in the room. A leak along the seal will show dramatically.
  • Keep the condenser coils clean. Brush or vacuum them at least twice a year to make them more energy efficient.
  • “A full frig is a good frig.” It’s better to keep your refrigerator as full as you can because food retains cold better than air. But don’t overcrowd–cold air needs to circulate.
  • Put a lid on any liquids. This will keep down humidity levels inside the refrigerator, shorten the defrosting cycle and keep food moister longer.
  • Move food you need to defrost from the freezer to the refrigerator a day before you need it. This way, the frozen food helps cool the refrigerator as it thaws, and gives your refrigerator’s motor a break.
Washing Machine Energy Saver Tips

tipsWasherThe average American home washing machine is used 416 times and accounts for as much as 25 percent of the electricity you use in your home (including the hot water for the wash).

  • Save energy by using the right laundry detergent. With today’s fabrics, many lightly- soiled clothes can come clean even in cold water.
  • Experiment with cold water wash and rinse cycles. For most clothes, the results will be as good as a hot water wash and warm rinse, and you’ll cut your energy use in half.
  • Each wash cycle uses 32 to 59 gallons of water. That’s as much as two showers. So set the water level in the washing machine to suit the size of the load- you’ll save both water and energy.
  • Try washing on a “delicate” setting instead of  “regular”. The motor won’t have to work as hard and will use less electricity.
Water Heater Energy Saver Tips

tipsWaterHeaterIn the average American home, the water heater is the second biggest energy user, accounting for about 15 percent of the energy you use.

  • Water heaters have adjustable thermostats. If you have a dishwasher without a water heating element, 140 degrees Fahrenheit is needed. But if your water heater only services bath and kitchen needs, 110 degrees will work. On older water heaters with less insulation, for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit you lower the temperature, you save 6 percent of your water heating energy.
  • Wrap insulation or a water heater blanket (available from hardware stores) around your water heater. Be sure not to block off vents or any thermostat controls or you may create a safety hazard. Proper insulation on your water heater can save up to $20 per year and return your initial investment in one to three years. (Many water heaters built after 1987 are already well insulated.)
  • To minimize heat loss in water pipes, locate your hot water storage tank as close as possible to the area of most frequent hot water usage (kitchen or bath). For extra protection against heat dissipation, insulate your hot water pipes.
Appliance Cost Chart
Appliance Cost Chart
 
Appliance Average Wattage Monthly KwH PricePer Month
Air Conditioner   (5000 BTU) 520 125 $ 14.59
                        (8000 BTU) 1050 200 $ 23.34
                     (14,500 BTU) 1360 326 $ 38.04
Automatic Blanket 200 30 $ 3.5
Clock 4 3 $ 0.35
Clothes Dryer (12 Loads per Month) 4350 60 $ 7
Coffee Maker 850 8 $ 0.93
Computer 170 10 $ 1.17
Dehumidifier (8.5 Kw per Day Continuous Running) 450 200 $ 23.34
Dishwasher 1200 30 $ 3.5
Fan, Window 200 40 $ 4.67
Freezer, not frost free (12-15 cu.ft.) 350 100 $ 11.67
                                (20 cu.ft.) 500 130 $ 15.17
Freezer, frost free      (12-15 cu.ft.) 440 150 $ 17.5
                                (20 cu.ft.) 575 200 $ 23.34
Frying pan 1200 15 $ 1.75
Furnace Fan (on a cold month) 300 130 $ 15.17
Hair dryer 1000 3 $ 0.35
Heater, Portable (3 hrs. per day) 1350 122 $ 14.24
Heat tape 10 ft. 70 35 $ 4.08
               30 ft. 180 90 $ 10.5
Humidifier 80 20 $ 2.33
Iron 1100 12 $ 1.4
Lighting      (5 hours per day) Incandescent bulb (60 Watt) 60 9 $ 1.05
    Incandescent bulb (100 Watt) 100 15 $ 1.75
    Compact fluorecent bulb (15 Watt) 15 2 $ 0.23
    Compact fluorecent bulb (25 Watt) 25 4 $ 0.47
Microwave Oven (1 hr. per day) 1450 45 $ 5.25
Radio / Stereo 40 6 $ 0.7
Range 12000 150 $ 17.5
Refrigerator / Freezernot frost free (12-16 cu.ft.) 400 125 $ 14.59
                         frost free (12-16 cu.ft.) 600 165 $ 19.26
                                       (21 cu.ft.) 735 185 $ 21.59
Satellite Dish 60 45 $ 5.25
Sewing Machine 75 1 $ 0.12
Slow Cooker 200 24 $ 2.8
Television 200 24 $ 2.8
Toaster 1100 4 $ 0.47
Toaster Oven 1425 6 $ 0.7
Vacuum Cleaner 700 3 $ 0.35
Washer 600 8 $ 0.93
Water Bed Heater 360 150 $ 17.5
Water Heater (Standard) 2500 110/person $ 12.84
                    (Quick recovery) 4500 160/person $ 18.67
Water Pump (Deep) 1736 60 $ 7
                    (Shallow) 1060 30 $ 3.5
       
Barn / Shop      
Barn Cleaner 5000 30 $ 3.5
Battery Charger for 1 battery 600 – 750 2 $ 0.23
Electric Motors = 1Kw per Hp X hrs. run      
Fans 3/4 Hp Motor 750 275 $ 32.09
Milker System 1.5 – 2.5 KwH per Cow  
Silo Unloader 5Hp 5000 75 $ 8.75
Stock Tank Heater 1000-1500 1100 $ 128.37
Engine Block Heater (2-4 Hr. per Day) 1500 200 $ 23.34
Water Pump (deep well)   120 $ 14
Welder (50 Amp) 12000-16000 5 $0.30 12000-16000 5 $ 0.58
 
How the “Price Per Month” is calculatedThe “Price Per Month” in this chart is based upon the residential rate of $ 0.1167 per kilowatt-hour. Your estimated “Price Per Month” may vary based on your appliance’s wattage rating and amount of use.

General Household Energy Saving Tips

Door and Window Frame Energy Savers

tipsDoorAbout 15 percent of the energy you use for heating your home goes to warming up air that leaks through cracks. In heating terms, the gaps you can find around windows and doors are the equivalent to a 3 by 3 foot hole in the wall. Caulking and weather stripping are two simple weapons you can use to stem this “great escape.”

  • Caulk cracks that have no moving parts such as places where a wall meets the outside edge of a window frame.
  • To determine where to use weatherstripping-cleverly-designed strips of felt, rubber, plastic or metal that fill spaces between the frame and doors or windows and compress when you shut them-hold your hand to various spots around window and door frames some evening when your house is at least 20 degrees warmer than the outdoors. If you feel any drafts, they need weatherstripping.
  • Seal leaks around electrical switches and outlets. Gaskets are available that fit behind the switch plates and keep out a surprising amount of draftiness. You can install them yourself with just a screwdriver. There are no electrical connections between the plate screw and the circuit. But to be entirely safe, you can remove the proper fuse or trip open a circuit breaker before you start installation.
Window Energy Saver Tips

tipsWindowCurtains and storm windows are the two easiest ways to reduce heat loss from your home. Window glass is only about one-eighth inch thick and conducts heat away from your living space. A storm window traps air between the glass and itself. This “dead air” space acts as insulation.

  • If you want storm windows on your home, but don’t want the expense of installing conventional ones, you can make plastic windows which can be applied to the inside of your windows.
  • An un-insulated drape can cut window heat loss by one-third. An insulated drape can reduce it by 50 percent.
  • Drapes save energy effectively only if they fit tightly against the window and the floor. Usually this means a valance at the top, side guides and a weighted hem. Or try adding in edge seals such as Velcro or magnetic strips.
  • If you install window covering on a window that faces north, you could save 2 to 3 percent of your home heating and cooling costs. The savings increase significantly if you put the same covering on windows facing south and west.
  • Other window coverings can be effective energy savers (but only if they fit tightly).
  • Even a vinyl shade can cut heat loss in half. More elaborate shades, such as quilted curtains, can cut the losses even more. Venetian and vertical blinds, however, are the least effective energy savers since they have so many gaps.
  • On sunny winter days, open drapes to let the warm sunlight in; close them at night to retain heat; close them on hot sunny summer days to keep heat out.
  • Install white blinds on the south-and west-facing windows to keep the sun from broiling your house in summer.
Fireplace Energy Savers

tipsFireplaceThe value of a fireplace as a heat source is deceptive. A burning fire causes a large flow of air through the hearth and up the chimney. The source of this flow is usually air in the house that has already been heated by a furnace. So, while a fire warms the immediate area through radiant heat, it is cooling the rest of the house by drawing out warm air through the chimney. If the difference between the indoor and outdoor air is 30 degrees or more, you suffer a heat loss.

  • When using your fireplace, lower the house thermostat to 50 degrees.
  • Close off the room that has the fireplace from the rest of the house.
  • Install an efficient, free-standing, airtight wood or coal stove in your fireplace.
  • Install an air duct which allows outside air to be the source of air for combustion.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use to prevent heated or cooled air from escaping up the chimney.
Home Heating Energy Savers

tipsHeatpumpWith the uncertainty of sufficient oil supplies, you may be searching for other means of heating your home. Surprisingly, that alternative could be right in your backyard and can be tapped by a heat pump.

  • A heat pump is a mechanical device that can transfer heat. In the winter, it transfers heat into your home; in the summer, it takes heat out of your home.
  • An air-source heat pump uses air to move heat from one location to another. In the summer, an air source heat pump works like an ordinary air conditioner, extracting heat from inside your home and pumping it outdoors. In the winter, it reverses itself and pumps heat into your house. That’s because even very cold air contains heat. For example, 0 degree Fahrenheit air still contains 89 percent of the heat that 100 degree air does.
  • A geothermal heat pump works just like an air-source heat pump but uses water to move heat. Usually either a open or closed loop system is used. Geothermal heat pump systems have the greatest potential for efficient and economical operation since ground temperatures remain fairly constant (around 50 degrees) most of the year.
Lighting Energy Savers

tipsLightingIt is estimated that about 20 percent of all the electricity used in the U.S. goes into lighting. Although lighting your home probably doesn’t account for 20 percent of your energy dollars, it still provides a very large area to implement cost–cutting energy measures.

  • Long-life incandescent light bulbs are actually less energy efficient than regular ones. They easily cost more in extra energy than they save on replacement bulbs. Their “trick” is that they save energy by emitting less light than their regular counterparts. Before buying light bulbs, check out the “lumens” rating on the package for actual lighting levels.
  • Dust on a light bulb can reduce the light it gives off by 10 percent and make it seem that you need a higher wattage bulb.
  • A white wall reflects 80 percent of the light that hits it; a black one just 10 percent. The more light the walls reflect, the greater the chance the light can be “recycled” by striking the wall, bouncing off and illuminating the room.
  • Opening curtains during the day will save lighting energy. Direct sunlight is 100 times brighter than light from a strong reading lamp.
  • Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. They combine the versatility of regular incandescent bulbs (they come in all sizes and shapes) with the low energy consumption of fluorescent lights. Compact fluorescents give off the same light as incandescent, but with 75 percent less energy. They also last more than 7,500 hours — 10 times longer than incandescent.
  • If you replace an incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent, you’ll save the equivalent of 600 pounds of coal over the life of the bulb.
  • Compact fluorescent light isn’t like the cool, greenish-white light you’re used to seeing in offices and schools. It’s closer to the “warmth” of incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescents use electronic ballasts and come on instantly, but they don’t “hum” or flicker like regular fluorescents.
  • Compact fluorescents are expensive, costing $15 to $25 per bulb. But they use so little energy that they’ll pay you back the purchase cost in less than two years.
  • Install compact fluorescents in lights that you leave on more than two hours a day.
Shower Energy Saver Tips

tipsShowerIf each member of a family of four takes a daily five minute shower, the family will use more than 700 gallons of water every week- a three-year supply of drinking water for one person.

Here’s how to shave your water usage and save electricity at the same time:

  • To cut shower water use by 50 percent, just replace your conventional shower head with a “low flow” model, available from any hardware store. There are two kinds- aerated and non-aerated. Aerated heads reduce the amount of water in the flow, but maintain pressure by mixing in air. It feels like a standard shower and has a steady, even spray. Non-aerated heads have a “pulse” water flow. If you like a shower massage, these are for you.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy reports that installing a low-flow shower head cuts water heating costs as much as 50 percent.
  • With a low-flow shower head, four family members each taking five-minute showers save 14,000 gallons of water a year. So if only 10,000 families installed low-flow shower heads, we could save 140 million gallons.
Thermostat Energy Savers

tipsThermostatWise use of thermostats can reduce your heating and cooling up to 30 percent!

  • During winter, you can save as much as 3 percent of the energy your furnace uses simply by lowering your thermostat 1 degree Fahrenheit (if it’s set between 65 and 72 degrees).
  • In the summer, the process is reversed. You can save 5 percent of the energy used by your air conditioner for every degree you raise the thermostat (if it’s set between 70 and 82 degrees).
  • Keep your thermostat under control-68 degrees in winter during the day, 55 degrees at night. In summer, turn it to 78 degrees.
  • Check the temperature with a thermometer to make sure your thermostat is representative of the rest of the house. If it’s located in a drafty or sunny spot, you may be getting false readings and wasting energy.
  • Plug the hole in the wall behind the thermostat with a piece of fiberglass insulation.

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