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Energy $aving Tips

Energy Saving Tips

Appliances & Electronics

Cooking

Cooking, combined with lighting and the energy use of other appliances accounts for about 33% of a home's energy bill.

  • Cooking on gas barbeque grills in the summer is much more efficient than using a conventional stove. Gas grills use no electricity at all and do not release heat into the kitchen forcing your refrigerator and other cooling systems to work harder and use more energy.
  • Microwaves, toaster ovens and slow cookers can use 75% less energy than a large electric oven.

Refrigerator

Your refrigerator's energy use can be reduced.

  • Make sure refrigerator and freezer seals fit tightly when doors close.
  • Keep outside coils clean. Dirty coils make your refrigerator compressor work longer to remove heat.
  • Setting your freezer below 0º uses extra energy.
  • Setting your refrigerator below 37º uses extra energy.

Dryers

Drying clothes can use a fair amount of energy.

  • Don't over-dry your clothes. If 50 minutes works, don't set it to 70 minutes.
  • Make sure to clean the inside lint filter before each drying cycle.
  • Periodically check your flexible metal dryer vent hose to ensure it is still tightly connected and not kinked.

Electronics

Almost every home is equipped with computers, several televisions, answering machines, microwaves, and the like.

  • Electronic appliances can draw power even when they are turned off.
  • Turn off computers and other office equipment when they're not being used, especially overnight, on weekends and when you go on vacation.
  • Avoid leaking energy by unplugging your appliances or turning off the switch on the power strip. Energy saving circuits that have a hard off switch can save 90% of the potentially lost energy.

Outside

Don't forget about the energy you're using outside of your home.

  • Motors in fountains and water features can draw a surprisingly high amount of energy. Don't forget to consider the cost of running these items when you calculate the price of installation and maintenance.
  • Consider replacing pool pumps and motors with updated, more efficient equipment.
  • Set your hot tub heater thermostat to 102º F, which is the temperature recommended by most health departments for adults and children. Some hot tubs have been factory set to heat water to 104º F. Turn down the thermostat while you're on vacation.
  • Insulated covers will help more efficiently maintain pool and hot tub water temperatures.

Heating & Air Conditioning

Heating and air conditioning account for more than 55% of your home energy dollar. Keep your system running "lean and mean."

  • HVAC systems should be checked to verify they are moving the correct amount of air. An HVAC technician can tell you if it is.
  • Heat pump and air conditioning systems should be checked annually to verify they are properly charged, strictly in accordance with manufacturers' guidelines.
  • Inside and outside coils should be kept clean and free of debris.
  • Consider replacing your old air conditioner with a new heat pump. A heat pump will cool your home in the summer just like an air conditioner and also heat your home in the winter-reducing your gas heating expenses. Plus, United Power offers significant rebates on heat pumps.
  • Return filters should be changed monthly.
  • Insulate your duct work. Even ducts that do not appear to be leaking are conducting conditioned air and wasting energy. Insulating your duct work can help you save 20-30% on heating and cooling expenses.

Lighting

Take a look at the lights you burn. Consider these points:

  • A 100-watt lamp costs roughly a penny an hour to operate.
  • Consider replacing incandescent lighting with energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps. They use a fraction of the wattage, last much longer and give off less heat.
  • When you finish cooking, turn off the kitchen lighting and the range exhaust fan.
  • Leaving unnecessary lights on increases energy costs.

Seasonal Energy Use

You spend 55% of your annual energy expenses heating and cooling your home, so doing it more efficiently can really impact your bottom line. Here are some tips for our extreme seasons that will help you keep your costs down.

Heating Efficiently

It's common to blame holiday lighting for an increase in your electric bill during the winter months, but many other factors, including heating your home, affect your monthly bill. Here are some tips to keep energy use down during the heating season:

  • Carefully monitor your energy use as you spend more time at home around the holidays and turn off electronics that are not being used.
  • Use an electric heat pump to warm your home when it is as cold as 40º outside. You'll extend the life of your gas furnace and save on gas heating expenses.
  • Insulate your duct work. Even ducts that do not appear to be leaking are conducting conditioned air and wasting energy. Insulating your duct work can help you save 20-30% on heating and cooling expenses.
  • More cooking and baking around the holidays can increase your electric bill. Use smaller appliances whenever possible. Use small pots on small burners and avoid wasting energy by frequently opening the oven to check your baked goods.
  • In the winter, lighting use increases due to shorter daylight hours. Leaving unnecessary lights on increases energy costs.
  • On sunny days, open blinds and drapes and let the sun warm your rooms. At night, close blinds and drapes to keep the heat in.
  • Hang heavier clothing to dry to avoid longer drying cycles.

Cooling Efficiently

During the hot summer months, your air conditioner can be your main energy user. Here are ways to efficiently keep your home cool and keep energy costs low:

  • Keep your drapes and shades closed during the day to keep unwanted heat out of your home.
  • Ventilate when it's cool outside. Many nights in Colorado are cool and dry, even after the hottest days. Cut your cooling costs by opening windows when it's cooler outside than inside.
  • Insulate your duct work. Even ducts that do not appear to be leaking are conducting conditioned air and wasting energy. Insulating your duct work can help you save 20-30% on heating and cooling expenses.
  • Whole house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when operated at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside.
  • To air condition your home, consider installing a heat pump that will work year-round to cool your home in the summer and heat your home in the winter.
  • Use microwave ovens and gas barbeques to prepare meals. Not only do they use less energy, but they won't warm up the inside of your home, forcing your air conditioner and refrigerator to work over-time.

Thermostats & Duct Insulation

Installing a programmable thermostat and insulating your duct work are two of the best strategies to keep your heating and cooling costs in check.

  • Un-insulated ducts in unconditioned spaces such as attics and crawl spaces can contribute to a loss of 10-30% of the energy used to heat and cool your home.
  • Save 20-30% on your heating and cooling expenses by insulating your duct work. This is an easy 'do-it-yourself' project that requires little to no carpentry skills.
  • Keep your heat set at 68º in the winter and your air conditioning at 78º in the summer to see significant energy savings.
  • For every 3º that you adjust your thermostat, expect to pay 10% more on your energy bill.
  • By installing a programmable thermostat, energy settings are easier to maintain and the thermostat will automatically turn back the temperature while you're asleep or away.
  • Insulate your ductwork and start saving on your energy bill today.
  • Watch this Instructional Video and learn step-by-step how to insulate your ductwork.

Air Leaks

A considerable amount of air transfers in and out of homes through leaky windows, and cracks, crevices and holes. This can increase your energy consumption. Here are some helpful tips to avoid air infiltration:

  • Seal around pipe penetration coming through walls.
  • During hot and cold weather, ensure windows are closed tightly and locked.
  • Ensure weather-stripping around doors and windows is tight.
  • When your fireplace is not operating, its flue should be closed tightly, with a sign hanging from the flue handle warning it is closed.
  • Check the ceiling behind the cornice of built-in bookshelves for holes cut during construction.
  • Drop-down, disappearing stairways should fit tightly into the ceiling and be carefully weather-stripped.
  • Whole-house attic fans should be sealed tightly during the winter.
  • Make sure your outside dryer vent door closes when the dryer is not in use. This requires cleaning away lint accumulation periodically.
  • Tighten and weather-strip your old windows and then add storm windows.
  • When it's time to replace old windows, consider new double-glazed windows. In colder climates, like Colorado, "low-e" coatings on glass can help reduce heat loss through windows.

Water Heating

Your water heater works with many of your home's other systems.

  • Make sure your water heater is set at the lowest point. Try setting it to 120º.
  • Check for water leaks around your water heater and faucets. A constant drip that may feel cold could actually be hot water that has cooled by the time it reaches the faucet. Hot water leaks can waste hundreds of dollars per year in energy costs.
  • Wash clothes with cold water. Many new detergents are made specifically for cold water washing.
  • Overfilling your washer can increase your energy use.
  • Taking extra long showers runs up the water heating (and water/sewer) bills. Reduce shower time and install low flow showerheads. You'll be surprised how much this simple device can cut your hot water costs.
  • If your water heater is located in an unconditioned space, consider installing a thermal wrap around it. Take care to install it in accordance with the tank and wrap manufacturers' instructions.
  • If you need to install a new water heater, choose an electric unit and receive a rebate from United Power.

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