Electricity use is on the rise in most homes. One reason we’re using more electricity is because we’re using more equipment and gadgets. Along with our traditional home appliances we have computer systems, entertainment centers, video games, battery chargers for our cell phones and MP3 devices, and the list continues to grow!
Before you turn on your television, or plug in your new refrigerator, take a minute to think about how much electricity it will use. How much does it impact your utility bill? Does your bill seem high lately and you don’t know why? You can solve the mystery by learning basic measurements of electricity and by using the handy Energy Usage Chart found in this brochure. Remember, the chart provides average use – energy-efficiency appliances will use less, older models will use more.
Vampire Power is a phenomenon most of us passively permit. It is a plague that consumes electricity while draining your wallet and polluting the atmosphere in the process. A vampire load is the power that is sucked from a piece of electronic equipment when it is seemingly turned off but still in standby mode, or not in use. A growing number of household electrical devices are designed to draw power 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when they are turned “off” these devices continue to use electricity to operate features such as clocks, timers, and touch pads, or to receive signals from remote controls. To learn more about Vampire Power, download this brochure.
With the cost to produce and distribute energy rising, energy conservation is becoming a bigger priority for utilities and homeowners. By taking the time to inventory your energy usage, you may be able to drastically lower your monthly electric bill. By making adjustments now, you won’t only save next month, but will continue to gather savings over time. Start saving energy and time today, by becoming your own energy manager.
We have tools and resources available to help you through your energy management process. An energy audit can be your first step toward energy management. To learn more about our audit program, the Neighborhood Energy Challenge, click here.
Below are suggestions for self-help improvements that may save you money!
24 Ways to Conserve Energy
- Follow yearly maintenance schedules to ensure that your furnace and air conditioner run efficiently.
- When buying new appliances for your home, purchase ENERGY STAR® qualifying appliances. ENERGY STAR® appliances use less energy than standard appliances and can possibly qualify for rebates through our Conserve & Save® program.
- Install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature when you are not home.
- Limit heating to 68 degrees (and to 55 degrees when you go to bed or are away) and cooling to 78 degrees.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent lights (CFL) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). They use about 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and lasts at least 6 times longer.
- Seal up all windows that have a draft by using a window sealing kit.
- Weather strip or caulk around loose-fitting exterior door jambs and windows. As much as 40 percent of your heating and cooling costs can be due to air leaks.
- Install gaskets behind switch and wall plates.
- Install a chimney collar and apply high temperature sealant.
- Open shades during the heating season and close them during the cooling season.
- Unplug rarely used appliances such as a TV located in the spare bedroom.
- Reduce water heater temperature to below 120 degrees (unless your dishwasher requires 140 degrees – check your manual).
- Dry your clothes on a clothesline instead of using a clothes dryer.
- Use a fan in conjunction with air conditioners to avoid having to set the air conditioner too low.
- When possible, wash clothes in cold water.
- Wash full loads. Clothes washers and dishwashers are most efficient when operated with full loads.
- Turn off lights when leaving a room.
- Clean light bulbs and fixtures regularly. A heavy coat of dust can block up to 50 percent of the light output.
- Don’t open your refrigerator door too often! Every time the door is opened, up to 30 percent of the cooled air can escape.
- Use microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers. These use 75 percent less energy than an electric oven.
- When peeking in your oven to check on your food, you can lose 25 to 50 degrees or up to 30 percent of the heat. No peeking!
- Vacuum your refrigerator condenser coils every six months.
- Do the dollar bill test! Check your refrigerator and freezer door gaskets by placing a dollar bill between the gaskets and closing the door. If the bill pulls out easily, it suggests either a gasket or door adjustment problem.
- Have a home energy audit done to assess where energy efficient changes can be made to save you energy and money.
Useful Links to More Energy Saving Ideas
- Minnesota Department of Commerce
- ENERGY STAR®
- Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Department of Energy