Energy Saving Tips   Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit   High Bill Inquiry  

Here are a few energy saving tips

Tips for keeping your home warm:

  1. Clean or replace furnace filters. Dirty filters slow air-flow through your HVAC system making it work harder and costing you more money.
  2. Check manufacturer's maintenance instructions to make sure your furnace and heat pump are in best working order and have your HVAC system serviced if it has been over a year. Keep your outdoor unit free of debris from fallen leaves or overgrown shrubbery.
  3. Clean registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators. Make sure furniture, carpeting or drapes does not block their air-flow or pose a fire hazard.
  4. Close the vents to the crawlspace of your home in the fall to prevent cool air from penetrating under your house.
  5. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring penetrate exterior walls, floors and ceilings.
  6. Test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures and other locations on exterior walls. If the smoke moves sideways, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing or weather-stripping.
  7. Check your ductwork for leaks and sections that may have separated. Secure the connections with mechanical fasteners such as sheet metal screws. Seal the joints with duct mastic or butyl rubber tape.
  8. Set your thermostat as low as comfortable in the winter. A programmable thermostat allows you to program day, night and weekend settings.
  9. Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
  10. If you use a fireplace, installing tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system will blow warmed air back into the room. Close the damper when not in use. As much as 14% of your warm air escapes out a chimney.
  11. Use ventilating fans wisely. Fans pull warmed or cooled air out of the house. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.
  12. Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which indicate air leaks in and out of your house. Seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic.

Tips for keeping your home cool:

  1. Close draperies or shades during the day to block the sun, especially on windows that face south or west. Open them in the evening to let cool air in but don't leave windows or doors open any longer than necessary.
  2. Check filters to be sure they are clean. For central air, the filters are the same ones you check in the winter and are part of the furnace. For window units, they are behind the grill. Dirty filters limit air flow and force equipment to work harder and use more energy.
  3. The condition of your duct work can make an impact. Ducts should be inspected and any leaks sealed by a certified contractor.  Use your set back thermostat so that the house is warmer when you aren't home during the day but cooler when you come home. In general, keep the thermostat set as high as you are comfortable.
  4. Close off rooms that you aren't using and the cooling ducts to them to focus the cool on the rooms that you are using.
  5. Don't set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn your air conditioner on. This uses much more energy than keeping the temperature at a constant setting.
  6. Keep lights low or off to avoid generating excess heat in the home. Use heat-producing appliances like ovens and irons in the early morning or late evening hours whenever possible.
  7. Don't place lamps or TVs near the air conditioning thermostat. The heat causes the thermostat to run the air conditioner unnecessarily.
  8. Use a microwave, or better yet, barbeque. Both use less energy than cooking on the stove or in the oven.
  9. A breeze on a summer day can sometimes be enough to keep you cool. Instead of turning on the air conditioner, open windows on opposite sides of the house for cross ventilation.
  10. Portable fans and ceiling fans allow you to set your thermostat 4-5 degrees warmer without any discomfort.  Turns fans off when you leave the room.  Fans cool people they do not lower the room temperature.
  11. Dress appropriately.  Wear lighter layers and let a fan cool you off when you are indoors.
  12. Dry clothes and run dishwashers in the coolest part of the morning.
  13. Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees F, use less how water for showering.  Any water added to the air by showering or boiling water on the stove will require your AC to work harder.

Tips for the windows in your home:

  1. Seal and caulk around windows, doors, electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures.
  2. Shade the south side of your home with deciduous (plants that lose their leaves in winter) plants, to keep your home cool in summer.
  3. Apply weather stripping around doors and windows.
  4. Install common draft guards beneath doors.

Tips for the appliances in your home:

In the Kitchen

  1. A refrigerator that was manufactured before 1990 will consume about 1,500 kWh annually and cost Benton PUD residential customers about $90 per year in electricity.
  2. A new ENERGY STAR® refrigerator consumes about 442 kWh annually.
  3. Fill the extra space in your refrigerator with jugs of water. Every time you open the refrigerator door, warm air rushes in that has to be cooled. The fuller the fridge, the less warm air to be cooled. You'll also have cool water to drink!
  4. Maintain the recommended setting in your refrigerator and freezer. Settings between 38°F and 42°F in the refrigerator and 0°F and 5°F in the freezer are sufficient to keep your food cold and safe.
  5. Clean condenser coils on refrigerators at least twice a year. Dirty coils cause stress on the refrigerator resulting in more energy use to cool.
  6. Use the microwave instead of the oven for most cooking - especially small meals. Tests indicate that only 6% of the energy output from a typical oven is absorbed into the food.
  7. Scrape, instead of rinsing, food off of plates before loading into the dishwasher.
  8. Only run full loads in dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers. You're using the same amount of power, but cleaning more.
  9. Let your dishes air dry. If your washer doesn't have air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after rinse cycle and prop the door open.
  10. Match the pan size to the element when range cooking.
  11. Mark items in your freezer for quick identification so you don't have to keep the door open while you sort through packages.

In the Laundry and Bath Rooms

  1. Your hot water heater can account for up to 30% of your bill. Use your energy-efficient showerheads and faucets aerators to reduce the amount of water released from the tap by up to 50%. You'll hardly notice a deference in water pressure, but you'll have 50% less water to heat.
  2. Look into front load washing machines. These resource-efficient washers use 40% less water than upright washers.
  3. Clean your dryer's lint filter often to improve airflow and dryer efficiency.
  4. Turn off the ventilation fan when it's done its job. Fans pull conditioned air out causing outside air to seep into your house somewhere else.

Throughout Your Home

  1. Use lighter colored shades on your lamps. Dark or decorative lampshades can absorb light or reflect it in the wrong direction causing you to use higher wattage bulbs to compensate for lost light.
  2. Keep your light bulbs dust free. Dirty bulbs can reduce light output by 10% causing you to compensate lost light with more bulbs.
  3. Turn off your computer when not in use or utilize "sleep" settings. Computer manufacturers say that turning your computer on and off a few times a day is considered normal use and will not harm the unit. If turning off the computer is not an option, turn off just the monitor.

Tips for your water heater:

  1. Install an energy efficient water heater. It really can make a difference.
  2. Turn the temperature on your water heater down. By setting the temperature to 120, you'll save 3 to 5% in water heating cost for each 10 degree reduction.
  3. Install aerators in faucets and use energy efficient showerheads. This can reduce the amount of water used by 50%.
  4. Repair leaks immediately. A dripping faucet can waste 6-10 gallons of water per day.
  5. Insulate both hot and cold water pipes if they are outside of a heated space.
  6. Take a shower instead of a bath. A 5-minute shower uses half as much hot water as an average bath.
  7. Turn faucets off immediately after use.
  8. Scrape dishes rather than rinse before putting in the dishwasher. Newer dishwashers can clean dishes with less rinsing.
  9. Wash clothes in cold water using cold water detergents whenever possible. Switching the temperature from hot to warm can cut the energy use in half.
  10. Wash full loads in both the dishwasher and clothes washer. It takes as much hot water to wash a partial load as a full load.
  11. Check your dishwasher manual for manufacturer's recommendations on water temperature. Many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater at a lower temperature.

Tips for lighting:

  1. Get in the habit of turning off the lights every time you leave a room for more than a few minutes. For fluorescent lighting, turn them off if you'll be away for more than 15 minutes. This prolongs the life of the fixtures.
  2. Instead of leaving outdoor lights on all night while you sleep, use a motion detector to turn on lights when they detect motion. With motion detectors, use the lowest wattage incandescent bulb that will do the job. If security is a concern, leave a low-wattage porch light on all night. For maximum security, use a high-pressure sodium bulb on a timer or light sensor. High-pressure sodium bulbs perform best when they're on for long periods of time.
  3. Dust off light bulbs. Dirty, greasy, smoky light bulbs can reduce light output by as much as 10 percent.
  4. Use only the number of bulbs needed to light an area. Three bulbs can usually do the same job as four if they are positioned accurately.
  5. Use free light. Natural light is more efficient than electric.
  6. The lighter the colors you use on the wall and other decor, the less artificial lighting is required to illuminate the area.
  7. Use timers when on vacation to turn lights on and off at different times on different days. Your home looks more lived in this way.