Optimal Energy Savings

Efficiency for your entire home.

Heating & Cooling Lighting Refrigerator & Freezer
Water Heating Electronics Dishwasher
Water Usage Cooking Laundry

 

 

 

 

Heating and Cooling with Optimal Efficiency

• Check your furnace air filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months. Dirty filters slow down airflow and make the system work harder, thereby wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system, leading to expensive maintenance or early system failure.

• Tuning up your heating and cooling system improves overall performance. Have your heating system serviced once a year, and never try to repair it yourself.

• Adjusting your thermostat a few degrees leads to big savings. When home, set it at 78 °F or higher for cooling and 68 °F or lower for heating. Change the thermostat 7 to 10 °F when you leave the house for two or more hours, and again when you go to sleep at night.

• Change your central air conditioner’s thermostat fan setting from “continuous fan operation” to “auto” so the fan runs only when cooling.

• Check the drain in your central air conditioner. A plugged drain causes water damage in the house and affects indoor humidity levels.

• Clean the evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer – increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.

• Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20% or more. Have a professional examine your ductwork for leaks. Duct sealant (mastic), metal-backed (foil) tape, or an Aeroseal sealant should be used to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After the ducts are sealed, you should request wrapping them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter.

• Old equipment – If your furnace or central AC equipment is more than 12 years old, or your boiler is more than 30 years old, consider replacing it with a more efficient unit.
Installing the right size equipment for the home is essential to getting the best performance. To ensure proper sizing, your contractor should provide a copy of the home’s heat gain/loss calculations for your records.

• A system with the correct amount of refrigerant will operate more efficiently and help prolong the life of the heating and cooling system. To ensure the system is properly charged, a contractor must test it and make the appropriate adjustments by adding or removing refrigerant.

• If the airflow in your heating and cooling system is too high or too low, you may have problems and higher utility bills. A contractor can test airflow and make any needed adjustments for optimal performance.

• Make sure that all air registers are clear of furniture, window treatments, or carpeting so air can circulate freely.

• Set your ceiling fans to turn counter-clockwise in the summer to help cool a room, but reverse them in the winter to push warm air back down into a room. Ceiling fans don’t actually cool your home—they only circulate air to make you feel cooler.

• In the winter, open window dressings during the day to capture warmth and close them at night to prevent heat loss. Close them in the summer to block the solar gain during the hottest part of the day and on south- and west-facing windows.

• Planting a deciduous tree on the west or south side of your house provides shade that will help keep it cool in the summer.

Make the Most of Your Lighting

• Switch to ENERGY STAR® certified light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. LEDs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 25 times longer. Identify the lumens (brightness) you need, and then choose the bulb with the lowest wattage (energy use). For example: an old 60-watt incandescent bulb produces about 800 lumens, while a 100-watt incandescent generates about 1,600 lumens of light.

• Turn off lights in any room that you’re not using.

• Use natural light whenever you can. Make the most of natural light by moving desks, reading chairs, and workbenches closer to windows. Keep in mind that lighter colors for walls, ceilings, and floors reflect more sunlight.

• Keep light bulbs and fixtures clear of dust and other particles. Clean bulbs give off more light than dirty ones.

• Using dimming switches or three-way lamps can reduce energy consumption to the lowest possible wattage and change the mood in a room.

• For the holidays, choose ENERGY STAR certified LED decorative light strings.

• While you’re away, don’t leave lights on so it appears someone is home, use a light timer instead for just a little while each evening. This saves energy and gives a more realistic impression of someone is home.

• Install a motion detector for your porch light to save from keeping it on indefinitely. Use it when you’re at home or away.

Save With More Efficient Electronics

• Use power management settings on your computer and monitor so they sleep when not in use. Shut down your computer when you’re done using it.

• Unplug battery chargers or power adapters when they are not in use Even if they’re not actively charging the devices, adapters plugged into outlets use energy.

• Use advanced power strip (APS) to automatically turn off home electronics when you’re not using them. For instance, when your TV is not being used, an advanced power strip can automatically cut power to accessories like DVD players, game consoles, and sound systems, or your computer can cut power to your printer, scanner, and sound systems.

• Turn off your game console when not in use, and avoid pausing for long periods of time.

• Lower the brightness on your TV or computer to a comfortable level.

• Use your DVD player rather than a game console to watch movies.

• Purchase ENERGY STAR qualified electronics.

• Recycle your old electronics to keep them out of landfills and reduce the energy needed to produce new products.

Refrigerator and Freezer – Cool Ways to Save

• Think about what you’re going to get from the refrigerator before you open the door.

• Set your refrigerator to 35 to 38 °F and your freezer at 0 °F. Anything above is a waste of energy.

• Keep your refrigerator and freezer full so they don’t have to work as hard to stay cold.

• Position your refrigerator away from a heat source, such as an oven, dishwasher, or direct sunlight from a window.

• Leave a few inches between the wall and the back of the refrigerator for air circulation.

• Make sure the seals around the door are airtight. If not, replace them.

• Make sure condenser coils are cleaned and air can circulate freely. Read the user manual to learn how to safely clean coils. Coil cleaning brushes can be purchased at most hardware stores.

• Consider replacing and recycling older-model working refrigerators, especially those made before 2000. Older model refrigerators often use more than four times the energy of newer models.

• If you’re purchasing a new refrigerator, one with a top-mounted freezer is generally the most efficient. And choose the smallest one that fits your needs. In general, the larger the refrigerator, the greater the energy consumption.

Use Your Dishwasher With Utmost Efficiency

• Scrape dishes instead of rinsing them before loading them in the dishwasher.

• Run your dishwasher with a full load, and use the air-dry or “no heat” option to save on electricity.

• If you wash dishes by hand, fill wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run.

Cooking without Wasting Heat

• Keep the burners clean on your gas range to ensure maximum efficiency.

• Ensure your gas is burning efficiently – blue flames mean good combustion, while yellow flames mean service may be needed.

• Check the seal on your oven door for wear. A clean seal provides better heat retention.

• Keep stove top reflectors clean to concentrate the heat better.

• Use covers that fit tightly on pots and pans to shorten cooking time.

• Use the smallest pan and burner needed for the job, and match them. A 6-inch pot on an 8-inch burner wastes over 40% of the burner’s heat.

• Using your microwave or toaster oven to reheat or cook small portions saves energy. It especially saves on cooling costs in summer, as less heat is generated compared to your stove or oven.

• Cook many dishes together if possible when using the oven.

• Avoid peeking into the oven while cooking. Heat escapes when the door is opened.

• Thaw food in the refrigerator, rather than going directly from freezer to oven or defrosting in the microwave.

• If you have a self-cleaning oven, turn it on just after use, while the oven is still hot.

Smart Water Heating Saves Energy

Set the water heater to 120 °F for normal use.

• If you’re heading out of town for an extended period of time, turn your electric water heater off entirely. Once turned back on, most models will reheat the water to the set temperature in about an hour. For a gas water heater, turn it down to “low” or “vacation mode.”

• Upgrade your water heater to a high-efficiency model. If your current water heater is 8-12 years old, it’s nearing the end of its life. Replace it now rather than doing an emergency replacement when you have no hot water.

• Wrap hot water pipes coming out of your water heater with insulation. Wrap those pipes nearest the heater first for greatest savings.

Save Water in your Bathroom

• Use low-flow faucet aerators and shower heads to waste less hot water. A low-flow shower head uses two gallons of water per minute or less.

• Shower vs. bath. A ten-minute shower can use less water than a full bath.

• Control humidity in your bathroom by running your ventilating fan during and 15 minutes after showers and baths.

• Repair any leaky faucets, as even small leaks add up fast and waste water and money.

• Avoid running water continuously while doing dishes, washing up, brushing teeth, or shaving.

Do Your Laundry More Efficiently

• Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. This usually does not affect cleaning results and may reduce shrinkage.

• Follow detergent instructions. Using too much soap makes the washing machine motor work harder.

• Wash full loads only. If you must wash a partial load, reduce the level of water appropriately and reduce drying time as needed. Many newer models do this automatically.

• Load washers and dryers to capacity, but don’t overload. Overloading can cut down on efficiency.

• Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your dryer has a moisture sensor that will automatically turn the machine off when clothes are done, use it to avoid over-drying. If you don’t have this feature, try to match the cycle length to the size and weight of the load.

• Try to dry loads made up of similar fabrics, so the entire load dries just as the cycle ends.

• Clean the lint trap before every load to help keep the machine running efficiently.

MO&P are proud members of NEFI, NPGA, NORA, OESP, PGANE