Money-saving tips

Summer

When the heat’s up, these tips can help keep energy use and costs down.

  • Have your air conditioner cleaned and checked annually.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters regularly. A dirty or plugged filter reduces air conditioning efficiency and increases your cooling costs.
  • When at home, set the thermostat no lower than 78 degrees Fahrenheit. You can reduce cooling costs 3 to 5 percent for each degree you keep the thermostat set above 78 degrees.
  • Make sure air registers are not obstructed by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
  • Use ceiling, window or oscillating fans when rooms are occupied. They make people feel more comfortable, thus requiring less air conditioning.
  • Keep heat-producing appliances away from thermostats. Their heat can cause the thermostat to register a higher temperature, which will make your air conditioner run longer than necessary.
  • Keep shades and drapes closed, especially on sunny sides of your home or apartment.
  • Use heat-generating household appliances in the morning or late evening when outdoor temperatures are at their low points.
  • Replace incandescent lights with fluorescent or LED lighting. If this is not possible, reduce the wattage of light bulbs in lamps and light fixtures. This also reduces the amount of heat the air conditioner has to remove.
  • Check and add insulation to attic, exterior walls and basement if appropriate.

Winter

When it’s cold outside, here are some simple ways you can keep energy use and costs down on the inside.

  • Have your furnace cleaned and checked annually.
  • Clean or replace furnace filters regularly. A dirty or plugged filter reduces the amount of heated air supplied to your home or apartment, increasing your heating cost.
  • Set your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 degrees at night or when you are away from home more than four hours. If you have a heat pump, set your thermostat back no more than 3 to 4 degrees.
  • Make sure air registers are not obstructed by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
  • Open shades and drapes on sunny sides of your home or apartment during daytime hours. Close them at night.
  • Keep windows tightly latched. Latching generally reduces air leakage through gaps around window sashes.
  • For comfort in cooler temperatures, warm clothes can be the best insulation of all. A light, long-sleeved sweater equals almost 2 degrees in added warmth; a heavy sweater adds 4 degrees. This should allow you to keep a lower thermostat setting, saving heating energy.
  • Keep fireplace damper closed unless in use. An open damper can be compared to keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter. Close the damper as soon as you are certain the fire is completely out.
  • If using a portable space heater, turn down the central heating thermostat to offset the energy being consumed by the space heater.
  • Check and add insulation to attic, exterior walls and basement if appropriate.

Vacation

You can save energy and money while on vacation this summer by selectively “de-energizing” major appliances in your home before leaving town. It is the only way to reduce your energy bill when your home is vacant.

To “de-energize” your home…

  • Unplug waterbeds and TVs.
  • Turn off your water heater.
  • Empty your refrigerator and unplug it.
  • Set your thermostat to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or turn off your air conditioner.

For more information…