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Winter Energy Efficiency Tips

10/30/2014

During these extremely cold winter months, Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative would like to offer these energy saving tips for its members. These tips include common steps you can take to save on your energy bills during the winter:

    • Caulk and weatherstrip around windows and doors to stop air leaks
    • Seal gaps in floors and walls around pipes and electrical wiring
    • Change air filters monthly
    • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents – they use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer
    • Tune-up your heating and cooling system annually to keep it running as efficiently as possible
    • Have your ductwork inspected and repair any leaks
    • Make sure all air registers and vents are not blocked by rugs, furniture or drapes. Blocked vents will cause your heating system to work twice as hard.
    • Add insulation to your attic, crawl space and any accessible exterior walls
    • Wrap your water heater with insulation or install an insulating blanket
    • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label when replacing large or small appliances
    • Use power strips for home electronics and turn off power strips when equipment is not in use
    • Underpin mobile homes, making sure it is intact and free of holes or tears
    • Replace worn-out seals on your refrigerator and freezer
    • Reduce hot water use by taking shorter showers and using cold water for the rinse cycle in your washer
    • Turn off lights, televisions and other appliances when not in use. Unplugging unused appliances will continue to save you money. “Phantom Users” of electricity like cell phone charges, TVs, computers, cordless tools and microwaves account for 3-10 percent of a home’s energy use. (“Phantom Users” can include anything with a light, clock or you may feel heat radiating from even when not in use.)   
    • Clean refrigerator coils regularly to keep compressor running efficiently
    • Set the refrigerator temperature at 36° to 39° F and freezer at 0° to 5° F
    • Use the microwave when possible – it cooks faster and doesn’t create as much heat as a stove burner
    • Air-dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher’s heat drying option
    • Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when full
    • Match the size of your pot or pan to the size of the burner
    • Make sure your dryer’s outside vent is clear and clean the lint filter after every load
    • Keep all windows and doors located near your thermostat closed tightly
    • Keep heat sources such as lamps and appliances away from your thermostat
    • Consider replacing your older model refrigerator, especially if it's over 10 years old, with an ENERGY STAR refrigerator
    • Install foam gaskets behind electric-outlet and switch-plate covers
    • Dry one load of clothes immediately after another to minimize heat loss
    • Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator before cooking
    • Use the oven light to check on progress when cooking or baking
    • Keep your outside air unit clean and clear of debris or weeds
    • Use low-watt bulbs where lighting is not critical
    • Place floor lamps and hanging lamps in corners. The reflection off the walls will give you more light
    • Turn off outdoor lighting during the day. Try timer switches or photoelectric controls if the finger method is a bother
    • Keep your freezer full. The fuller the freezer, the less cold air you lose when opening the door
    • Use the self-cleaning cycle of your oven right after you finish baking. That will give it a head start in heating up
    • Hang on to appliance manuals so you can refer to them for care information and possible energy-saving tips
    • Keep the thermostat on your water heater set at 120° or lower, unless other specifications exist for your dishwasher. Heating water accounts for 12 percent of your home’s energy use.
    • Make the most of your drapes and shades by opening them during the day and allowing the sunlight to naturally warm your home. Close them at night to hold the heat inside.
  • Turn up your thermostat

    For Summer, set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and 80-85 degrees or when you are away. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room. Always take into account health considerations and be sure to drink plenty of fluids in warm weather. (Save: 1 - 3 percent per degree, for each degree the thermostat is moved up)

    For Winter, you can save energy by setting the thermostat to 68° while you're awake and setting it lower while you're asleep or away from home  - a savings of as much as 3-5% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.

    Seal your ducts

    Leaking ductwork accounts for 25 percent of cooling costs in an average home, so have your ducts tested and have any leaks or restrictions repaired by a qualified contractor. Note: duct cleaning is not the same as duct sealing. As of October 1, 2005, if you install a new central air conditioner or furnace, your ducts will have to be inspected. (Save: 10 -20 percent)

     

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