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Reduce Utility Bills

June 3, 2007

Energy Use in Homes

Filed under: Electricity, Natural Gas — Jan @ 9:39 am

I just read that most of the energy used in the home is for heating and cooling! Getting a handle on that will certainly reduce utility bills!

Here’s a breakdown of how energy is used in homes:

  • 44%-heating/cooling
  • 33%-lights/cooking/appliances
  • 14%-water heating
  • 9%-refrigerator

Here’s some ways to reduce the heating and cooling energy consumption, which will reduce utility bills:

  1. Set thermostat just outside comfort levels. A 10 degree change at night or while away can save as much as 7%.
  2. Replace filters regularly. A clogged filter puts added stain on heating and cooling systems. It is well worth the cost of a new filter monthly. In a pinch, vacuum the filter and replace as soon as possible.
  3. Have system inspected regularly. This will assure that the system is running efficiently. Use only qualified contractors.
  4. Seal gaps. Seal around doors and switch/plug outlets. This can reduce heating and cooling loss by 2%.
  5. Manage window coverings. In the summer, close coverings when the sun is shining in to block the heat. In the winter, open the covering to allow the sun to help with indoor heating.
  6. Close fireplace damper when not in use. Be sure to remember to re-open before you start a fire.
  7. Limit exhaust fan use. As soon as they have fulfilled their purpose, turn them off. Not only will exhaust fans suck out the smells in a bathroom and the greasy smoke in the kitchen, it will suck out the cooled/heated air in a room.

Here’s some ways to reduce the water heater and appliance energy consumption, which will further reduce utility bills:

  1. Wash full loads of clothes and dishes whenever possible. Have enough clothes, towels, and dishes to be able to do this.
  2. Limit oven preheating. If not needed, skip it. If needed, never preheat longer than 10 minutes.
  3. Keep oven door shut while in use. Up to 20% of heat is lost every time the door is opened.
  4. Reduce hot water use. Wash in cold whenever possible, shorten the time the shower is running , and install a low-flow shower head.
  5. Repair leaky faucets. If your water bill shows a graph and there is a step-like increase in water consumption, chances are you have a leak. Check the house and repair any leaky faucets. Toilet tank flappers leaking are a common cause of a high water bill.
  6. Reduce hot water heater energy consumption. Turn the heater dial to low. If approved by manufacturer, insulate water heater. Insulate pipes. Hot water heater should be turned off if no one will be at the house for one week or longer.

The individual hints may have limited impact on reducing utility bills, but once the hints are combined, the saving becomes more noticeable.

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