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Conservation Tips

Conservation tips to help you reduce energy usage and keep your costs down.

Cold Weather Tips

  • Have your furnace and ductwork inspected annually by a professional to ensure your equipment is operating safely and at peak efficiency
  • Caulk, seal and weatherstrip all openings from your home to the outside. Install plastic sheeting or storm windows over old or leaking windows. Eliminating air leaks in your home can save you as much as 10 percent in energy costs
  • More attic insulation may be needed if the ceiling joists are visible. R-30 to R-38 insulation levels (10–16 inches of blown) are recommended
  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. Consider installing a programmable thermostat that maintains a lower temperature in your home during times when you are away
  • Maintaining consistent temperatures within a few degrees will help save money. Encourage family members to reach for sweaters, hot drinks and sofa throws instead of turning up the heat
  • Unless it is equipped specifically for home heating, use your fireplace sparingly, since warm air escapes through the chimney. Close the damper when the fireplace is not in use
  • Remove or reposition any furniture or other items that may be blocking floor or return air vents
  • Limit the use of bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans — they can pull warm air from your home quickly
  • Take shorter showers to reduce water-heating costs, and open bathroom doors after showers to allow the moist heat to circulate to other rooms
  • Open draperies and blinds on south-facing windows to allow sunlight to enter in daylight hours to take advantage of the warm rays of sun. Close draperies and blinds on these windows at night to maintain heat
  • Set your water heater temperature to between 120 and 140 degrees, depending on family size

Warm Weather Tips

  • In warm climates, where summertime heat gain is the main concern, look for windows with double glazing and spectrally selective coatings that reduce heat gain
  • If your air conditioner is old, consider purchasing a new, energy-efficient model. You could save up to 50% on your utility bill for cooling. Look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels
  • Keep in mind that insulation and sealing air leaks will help your energy performance in summer by keeping the cool air inside
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but not to block the airflow. Place your room air conditioner on the north side of the house. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun
  • Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary
  • Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use
  • Don't set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be
  • 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 inside
  • For air conditioners, look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The current minimum is 13 SEER for central air conditioners
  • During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain

Year-Round Tips

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs
  • Turn lights off when not in use
  • Turn off and unplug your computer, monitor, game systems, and internet router when not in use
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes
  • Allow dishes to air dry instead of using your dishwasher's "dry" cycle
  • Take showers instead of baths to reduce hot water use