Energy Consumers: Seasonal Checklist
Tips For Fall
GET WITH THE PROGRAM WITH ROOM TEMPERATURE TIPS:
- Turn your thermostat down five degrees. Each degree saves about 2% on your heating bill. So that’s about $50 on a $500 heating bill. If you install a programmable thermostat it will do the work for you.
- Have a professional tune up and inspect your furnace. An oil burning furnace should be checked once a year, a gas burning furnace every two to three years. This can save you up to 10% on your heating costs.
- If you have a warm air furnace or heat pump, check the filter each month. Clean or replace filters as needed.
- If you have a hot water or steam heat, check water levels. A heating contractor can tell you how to add more water. Ask the contractor for more tips to make your system work better.
- Clear the area around the furnace. This lessens the chance of fire and improves airflow.
- Make sure heat can get into the room. Keep furniture and drapes from blocking radiators, heating registers, and return vents.
- Home Heating: Never use the stove to heat your home. It is expensive and very dangerous.
- Use a space heater that has been tested as having the latest safety standards. These standards have recently been updated to ensure greater security.
NOTE: It is important to use precautions in purchasing and using space heaters. Fires and carbon monoxide poisonings result each year from their use.
- Place space heaters in an open area. They should be placed on a level, hard, non-flammable surface so that air can circulate around them. Keep them at least three feet from flammable materials.
- Turn off the space heater when you leave the room or go to sleep. Do not place a space near anyone sleeping.
- If you are thinking about purchasing a new heating system, look for ENERGY STAR systems. These are the most energy-efficient models on the market and will save energy, money and help the environment.
- Install a programmable Thermostat. Use it to automatically control the heat when you are not home and overnight while you are sleeping.
- Check if cold air is getting into your house. If you house is drafty, you may need additional insulation.
- Use drapes. Where windows face the sun, keep the drapes open in the day, but close all the drapes at night. Keeping the drapes closed will reduce drafts and you’ll reduce heating costs.
- Repair windows. Even a crack drives fuel bills up. Got a loose window? Install weather stripping. It helps keep cold air out of the house.
- Install storm windows. Remember to put them down once winter begins. They pay for themselves by keeping cold air out and preventing moisture from collecting on the windows.
- Close storm doors. Seal air leaks by caulking and weather stripping doors.
- Clean your fireplace. Call a professional chimney sweep to perform you annual fireplace inspection.
- When not in use, close your fireplace flu to keep drafts out.
BAKING WITH THE BEST INGREDIENTS FOR ENERGY SUCCESS:
- Keep conventional oven pre-heating time to a minimum. Only preheat if you are baking bread or pastries.
- Don’t peek! You lose heat every time you open the door or lift the lid.
- Keep racks clear. Foil on oven shelves blocks heat and costs money.
- Use glass or ceramic pans in ovens. They heat faster than metal pans—that’s why brownie recipes call for 350 degrees for aluminum, but 325 degrees for a glass pan.
- Remember!! Always take care when cooking. It is the number one cause of home fires in the United States.
DISHWASHING DILEMMAS SOLVED:
- Wash only full loads of dishes in the dishwasher. It costs exactly the same to wash one dish as a whole load.
- Air dry dishes. If the dishwasher has an air-dry feature, use it.
- Fill dishwasher with detergent right before running it. Dry detergent may cake, while liquid can leak.
- Fill the dishwasher according to manufacturer’s instructions. This will allow the flow of water to properly clean the dishes.
- Use energy-saving cycles whenever possible.
- Use water temperature boosting feature. If the dishwasher has a booster heater, then you also can lower the temperature on your water heater. It takes less energy for the booster heater to heat the water needed to wash the dishes at 140 degrees. Check the dishwasher’s manual for the recommended minimum water temperature.
- If you wash dishes by hand, rinse dishes in groups rather than one at a time. Don’t leave the water running.
COOKING THAT ISN’T COSTLY:
- Use toaster ovens, crock pots, and microwaves. When you are cooking small to medium-sized meals, they use less energy than the stove or oven.
- Keep the inside surface of your microwave clean. It will cook your food more efficiently.
- Use the smallest pans possible. It takes less energy to heat them
- Use lids. They help the food cook more quickly by keeping the steam in the pot or pan.
- Clean the burner pans on your stove. When clean, they will reflect heat back up to the pots and pans.