Energy Efficiency Tips
Making just a few small changes can add up to big savings on your electric bill.
Efficiency Tip #1: Programmable Thermostats
Using a programmable thermostat can save you energy and money! When you are asleep or out of the house, these devices can automatically turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° while you are away at work and then change it back for when you arrive at home. You can also set it to lower or raise the temp in your home while you are asleep! Changing your thermostat settings for eight hours can save you around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills. Consider a wi-fi enable device and you can control the temperature in your home from your mobile device! Programmable thermostats make it easy to set back your temperature - set it and forget it!
Efficiency Tip #2: In the Kitchen
Every time you open the oven door to check on a dish, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, increasing cooking time - and energy use! Try using the oven light instead.
Watch out for energy-draining appliances. Big appliances like refrigerators and freezers can consume a lot of energy, so the next time you replace one of these appliances, upgrade to an energy-efficient Energy Star model. These units are designed to use much less energy than their older counterparts and often end up paying for themselves over time. Keep these appliances clean and well maintained to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.
Downsize: Another easy way to conserve energy is to use small appliances such as microwaves, toaster or convection ovens for small meals rather than your stove or oven. These smaller cooking appliances use one-third to one-half as much energy as a full-sized oven. Slow cookers are also a great option for savings.
Efficiency Tip #3: Hit the Lights
We all know to shut off the lights when leaving a room, but you also can make lightbulb swaps that increase energy efficiency. LED lights are the most efficient lighting available today - and they last longer.
Efficiency Tip #4: Pull the plug.
As we continue to be more and more "plugged in," it should come as no surprise that we're spending more on electricity to keep all of our devices charged and running. To keep costs reasonable, plug electronics into a power strip and turn it off when they're not in use. Some newer power strips even include an auto shut-off feature for an added level of convenience, so there's no excuse for wasted energy. Institute a weekly electronics-free family game night to make memories while trimming your electric bill.
Efficiency Tip #5: The truth about electric space heaters. (If it seems too good to be true, it probably is)
Your local electric cooperative advises members to be cautious of claims that a "magic" space heater will slash your electric bill by up to 50 percent, or that you can heat your home for pennies a day. We encourage members to investigate fully before purchasing a potentially costly space heater.
To achieve the savings these "magic" space heater advertisements claim, you must turn the temperature in your hose down to between 50 - 60 degrees and move the heater with you from room to room. Not only is this a potential safety hazard, you also sacrifice convenience and comfort in the rest of your home.
Consider the operating cost
Before you purchase an electric plug-in space heater that claims to lower your heating bill, consider the operating costs. The cost to operate depends on the type of heater and the size of room you are heating. Use the formula provided below to calculate operating costs of and electric space heater, or any electric appliance.
HOW TO: CALCULATE THE COST OF RUNNING AN ELECTRIC PLUG-IN SPACE HEATER
First, convert watts to watt hours: ________ watts ÷ 1,000 = ________ kilowatts
Next, calculate the operating cost: ________ kilowatts x .11¢ per hour
_______¢ per hour x ______ operating hours - $_________ per day
$________ per day x 30 days = MONTHLY COST TO OPERATE
You can use this same formula to estimate an appliance's energy use:
You can usually find the wattage of most appliances stamped on the bottom or back of the appliance, or on its nameplate. The wattage listed is the maximum power drawn by the appliance. Since many appliances have a range of settings (hairdryers), the actual amount of power consumed depends on the setting used at any one time.
Here are some examples of the range of nameplate wattages for various household appliances:
Clothes washer = 350–500 Watts
Dishwasher = 1200–2400 Watts (heat drying feature increases energy use)
Microwave oven = 750–1100 Watts
CPU - awake / asleep = 120 / 30 or less
Monitor - awake / asleep = 150 / 30 or less
Laptop = 50 Watts
Refrigerator (frost-free, 16 cubic feet) = 725 Watts
Smart TV = 100 Watts
Flat screen = 120 Watts
Water heater (40 gallon) = 4500–5500 Watts
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