Limit use of freestanding or in-wall space heaters to short periods of time. Electric space heat can cost as much as 25 percent more than fossil fuel heat. Because of the high energy required, the use of extension cords with space heaters is not recommended. Also to avoid fire hazard, electric heater power cords should never be placed under a carpet or rug to be hidden from view.
In homes with individual electric heat controls in each room, thermostat settings should be checked against a thermometer to see if they are calibrated correctly. Incorrectly calibrated thermostats may result in higher settings than necessary and increased electric usage. To maximize savings, consider lowering the heat temperature during sleeping hours as well. The same goes for raising the temperature during the air conditioning season. Depending on individual preferences, setting the thermostat back five degrees in the heating season, or up five-degrees in the air conditioning months, can result in significant savings. You can also save money on central air conditioning by using an automatic programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can control the temperature of your home during non-occupancy hours, thus reducing your energy bill. It can be programmed to shut off the air conditioning system after you leave your home and turn it back on before you return. Maintaining constant pre-determined settings is advised for best results.
Electric water heaters have two thermostats and two doors that provide access to the settings. For efficient operation, both thermostats should be set at the same temperature. However, before performing this check, be sure to turn the power off to the water heater or have a qualified technician do it for you. For conservation purposes and safety reasons, the temperature should not be set higher than 120 degrees. You may also wish to have a timer installed that will automatically shut off the heater during periods of non-use, such as during the nighttime sleeping hours. The timer will turn on your heater at the most convenient time to allow enough time to have hot water available to you.
If you have an older water heater, or your basement is extra cold, consider installing a water heater insulation jacket. Water heater jackets cost less than $10.00, but can save you at least three times that amount over the course of a year. Follow the installation instructions on the package to maximize safety and savings.
If you heat water with electricity, check your kitchen and bathroom faucets for hot water drips. This type of water loss is particularly expensive, because you are paying for the water and the electricity to heat that water. For best results, inspect and replace all washers on drippy faucets. It is also important to check the safety valve on your electric water heater for drips. A small leak can lose thousands of gallons of heated water over the course of one month.
In certain circumstances, even small appliances, such as the heater on a child's aquarium, can be a big energy draw. To find out, check the rating on the aquarium heater. A small 100-watt heater can use about two and one half kilowatts of electricity per day. Even with low BWL electricity rates, it will cost about $4.50 per month to run that aquarium heater twenty-four hours a day. Keep in mind, too, aquarium heaters operate in relation to room and water temperature. The colder the room, the longer the heater operates, the higher the cost.
If you have purchased a new refrigerator or freezer, safely dispose of the old one. It can cost up to three times more to operate an older refrigerator or freezer than a newer model. A new unit may cost as little as $2.50 per month to operate, as opposed to $10 per month with an older model. If you have an older model still in use, check the seals by closing the door on a sheet of paper. The door should have a snug hold on the paper as you pull it out. If you plan to keep your older model refrigerator, you could save money by replacing the seals. Remember to keep the area behind the refrigerator or freezer clear and at least four inches from the wall. This will allow heat that is being removed from the unit to dissipate into the room making the unit more efficient. Do not place a refrigerator or freezer in a hot garage or other unconditioned area. The hotter the air around it, the harder it has to work to keep things cold resulting in higher electricity use.
Some common kitchen appliances can actually consume more power than one would presume. A simple coffee maker for example can draw up to 1400 watts. If it operates for about 4 hours per day, that can add up to $10.20 per month. It is wise to check all thermostatically controlled appliances to see how many hours they may actually be operating, versus how may hours they really need to operate. Basement dehumidifiers are often overlooked. A dehumidifier operating at 600 watts can cost up to $13.00 per month if it operates twelve hours per day. For best results, dehumidifiers should be operated at a setting that removes moisture while maintaining minimal operation. Find the de-humidification setting that does the job at minimal cost.
You can save money by using the most appropriate light bulb for the job. Check the wattage on your light bulbs and replace them with the lowest setting that will provide adequate lighting for the particular area. If possible, it is worth it, in terms of maintenance and energy savings to replace an incandescent light bulb with energy saving fluorescent light bulb. Incandescent light bulbs waste 90% of their energy to produce 10% usable light. Do not use dimmer switches with compact fluorescent bulbs. Check the rating on the package before you buy. And make sure your light fixture will accommodate the bulb. Most energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs have now been re-designed to fit conventional fixtures.
Timers can be a valuable tool to give your home an occupied look for safety. They can also be used to automatically shut off unnecessary lighting and save you money. Occupancy sensors can be used to automatically turn-on a light when someone enters a room and shut off the light when occupants leave the room.
For more energy conservation tips, visit:BWL Hometown Energy Savers SM