Energy Conservation Tips

Heating and Cooling

More than 50 percent of annual energy costs come from your home's heating and cooling systems. Check the filters in your air conditioning and heating systems monthly and change them as needed. Vacuum dust and lint from all air intakes and outlets. Clean filters allow air to move more freely and systems to work more efficiently.

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 five minutes.

Summer Season Tips

Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in the summer; one degree change either will increase your energy use by 3 percent to 5 percent.

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 down the air conditioner at night or when you are away from home.

Clean or replace air filters once a month or as needed.

Install a simple filter whistle to let you know it’s time to change your filter.

Make sure all ductwork is tightly sealed.

Use your microwave instead of your oven for cooking.

Postpone dishwashing and laundry until later in the evening; hang laundry outside to dry if possible.

Winter Season Tips

Set your thermostat between 68° and 72°. Heat pumps operate differently than other types of heating systems, so follow the recommendations for your particular heating system.

Limit use of portable space heaters.

Everyday Tips

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.

Unplug battery chargers (Cell Phone Cords, Laptop Cords, Etc.) when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.  These items continue to draw a small amount of power even if device is not attached.  If device is not attached to charger then unplug the charger.

Check for air leaks in duct systems, fireplace dampers, attic hatches, baseboards and around windows and doors. One-third of a home's total heat loss is through unsealed windows and doors.

If the duct system needs to be sealed, be sure to use a quality mastic sealant.

Close the fireplace damper securely when not in use.

Install weather stripping along the doorframe 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.

Purchase energy efficient products when replacing appliances and heating and cooling systems. Look for ENERGY STAR® products.

Find more information about conserving energy, from the State Energy Office or US Department of Energy websites.