Energy Saving Tips

Here are some tips to conserve on the amount of electricity used in your home:

  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.
  • Bake several dishes that can be cooked at equal temperatures together in the oven.
  • The microwave oven reduces energy consumption and cooks food in about one fourth the time.
  • Take advantage of the sunny days of winter by opening your drapes during the day and closing them at night.
  • Take short showers rather than full tub baths. A normal tub bath will use up to twice as much hot water. You’ll save on total water consumption as well.
  • Use cold and warm water cycles as much as possible when using your washing machine. Many detergents can clean adequately in cold water.
  • Pool pumps can use significant amounts of electricity. If pumps operate by a time clock, check to make sure it is operating properly. Check with your pool dealer on the recommended pool filter pump operations to ensure adequately filtered water.
  • If your pool has an automatic pool sweep, is it connected to a time clock and operating to manufacturer’s specifications?
  • Cover hot tubs when not in use. Insulate, operate, and maintain hot tubs according to manufacturer and code specifications.
  • Typically a well pump averages only 35-75 kWh per month. However, a faulty check valve, pressure switch, or leaks in water lines and pressure tanks, can quickly double or triple their electrical usage.
  • If there is a thermostatically controlled heater in the pump house, check to make sure it is operating properly.

What to Look for if You Suspect Pump Problems:

While pump repairs are often best left to an experienced plumber, electrician, or repair person, there are ways you can detect improper operation and problems.

  • If all water users in the home are turned off, does the pump continue to operate?
  • If the pump cycles, check for leaks in water lines resulting in wet areas in the yard and crawl space.
  • Check for leaky toilets or faucets.

"Waterlogged" tanks are frequently responsible for extended pump operation times. Evidence of this problem is usually low water pressure or fluctuating pressure. Frequent waterlogging is most often a result of a tank or air injection valve air leak.

  • Waterbeds have been labeled the silent energy users. A conventional-type waterbed uses approximately 125 kWh per month. To reduce energy consumption:
    1. It is important that the bed remain covered. Studies have shown that the “unmade bed” or those with covers turned down half way down, have a significant increase in energy usage.
    2. A queen-size waterbed will use approximately 20% less than a corresponding king-sized bed.
    3. Soft-sided waterbeds use less energy than conventional models due to higher levels of padding, resulting in beds which require smaller heaters.
  • Use dehumidifiers only when conditions warrant. Normally the unit doesn’t need to operate during the winter months. If your unit has an automatic control setting which allows it to operate only when selected humidity levels indicate, be sure it is set properly. This can provide additional savings, especially if humidity levels in that room are prone to fluctuate.
  • "Energy-Saver" type light bulbs may cost slightly more initially than conventional bulbs, but are more economical over the bulb’s lifetime due to higher energy efficiency.
  • New compact fluorescent bulbs are usually an excellent energy buy despite high initial cost.
  • Tropical fish aquariums, special pet facilities, and greenhouses can be significant users of electricity.

Important Reminder: It is extremely difficult to compare your usage level with others. Variations in equipment efficiency and wattage, family size, control settings, usage patterns, weather conditions, billing periods, etc., all contribute to make your bill unique to your home!

Tips on Buying Major Appliances

When purchasing new appliances, pay particular attention to the yellow and black energy guide labels that are posted on the appliance. Federal law requires all new refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, clothes washers, dishwashers, and room air conditioners have these labels. Even more important before selecting a particular model is computing the energy savings over the life of the appliance. This allows you to compare energy efficiency vs. initial cost over the estimated lifetime of the appliance. It is usually less expensive in the long run to purchase the higher efficiency model.

Note:The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has a number of excellent publications to help you save energy. These can be previewed and ordered directly from their website at or you may write or call them at:

1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 801
Washington, D. C. 20036
(202) 429-0063

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