Using energy conservation tips to reduce electric, heating, and cooling costs is a win win strategy. You get lower bills and contribute to energy conservation at the same time. You win, society wins, and the environment wins. You will find this is a common theme throughout the money saving ideas on this site. When you save money, you usually benefit the environment or other individuals in the process.
There are more reasons than just saving money to conserve our resources. But, I must admit, saving money is a pretty good motivator for most of us!
Now that we have our priorities straight, here are some energy conservation tips to get you started saving money on your home energy costs.
Many consumers are not even aware that they have a utilities consumer advocate within their own state's government. These state specific consumer advocate's are generally, but not always, referred to as The Office of the People's Counsel.What is the OPC?
*The Maryland Office of People's Counsel offers these valuable energy conservation tips to consumers desiring to conserve household energy and reduce monthly bills. The following simple, inexpensive energy conservation tips will help you maximize your energy dollar.
Heating and Air Conditioning Energy Conservation Tips
Look for energy leaks. You can discover drafts by putting your hand in front of a window or door base, then caulk or weather strip to seal the gaps.
Insulate your basement, attic, and crawl spaces.
Keep your fireplace damper closed when you aren't using it.
Clean or change your furnace filters once a month.
Maintain your heat pump, furnace or air conditioner. Keep units free of blockages. If they make strange noises, have them serviced promptly.
Use your thermostat wisely. For heating, set it at 65-70 degrees during the day and 60-65 degrees at night. Use sweaters and comforters so that you can set the thermostat at a lower temperature. For cooling, set it no lower than 78 degrees.
Use space heaters as little as possible, as they are very expensive to operate.
Water Heating Energy Conservation Tips
Don't overheat water. For dishes, one hundred twenty degrees or lower is fine if you don't have a dishwasher.
Keep your water heater clean. Once or twice a year, drain a bucket of water out of the bottom of the tank. When you remove sediment, you will save energy by keeping the heating element in contact with the water.
Blanket your water heater with an approved insulation jacket.
Take showers instead of baths.
Plug up leaking faucets.
Insulate hot water pipes.
Energy Conservation Tips for Lighting and Small Appliances
Turn off appliances and lights when not in use, including the television and radio!
Use compact, fluorescent light bulbs in place of typical, pear-shaped ones in your lamps if you use them more than three hours a day. Fluorescent bulbs last longer and give off more light per watt.
Install dimmer switches so you can burn incandescent lights at a lower level.
Look for new appliances with automatic shut-off switches.
If you are replacing a heating system (furnace or heat pump), air conditioning (central air or window units), or appliances (refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer), buying an energy-efficient model, properly sized for your home, can reduce your energy bill.
Donít forget to inspect your windows and doors for air gaps between the walls and the window or door. Inexpensive sealers and caulks can be purchased at hardware stores.
Fill those gaps for dollars to save hundreds of dollars in wasted energy. If your windows are single pane thickness, a package available to install over the interior side of the window frame reduces significant heat loss through the glass by conduction, and adds a layer of air caught between the glass and the film covering the window for added insulating benefits.
South-facing windows should have drapes open to permit the sun to heat the house interior during daylight. At night all windows should have drapes drawn closed to reduce heat transfer from the house through the window, the heavier the material the better the insulating effects.
If you are on a low or limited income, you may qualify you for assistance in replacing or repairing furnaces and refrigerators. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is designed to assist limited income families with reducing their energy usage by providing installation of energy conserving measures, as well as offering furnace cleaning and tuning.
WAP eligibility is based on Energy Assistant Program guidelines. WAP is funded by the United States Department of Energy and is administered through the state by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
Call your local energy assistance office for further information and a referral.
Your local utilities also maintain web sites with consumer information and should be consulted for energy conservation tips.
Even if you can't afford to do needed major home improvements to improve energy conservation right now, you can use many of these energy conservation tips to reduce your bills. Each conservation tip individually may amount to small savings, some are big savings. But, implementing as many as possible could add up to substantial savings collectively on your energy bills.
*Note: The Office of People's Counsel (OPC)is an independent state agency that represents the interest of residential consumers of natural gas, electricity, telephone and certain other utility services before the Public Service Commission and certain federal regulatory agencies.
They are a state appointed utility consumer advocate who work to ensure that residential consumers receive safe, reliable, services at the lowest possible cost. OPC is the oldest consumer advocacy agency of it's kind in the United States.
Contact your local department for a wealth of information regarding home energy conservation, reducing your monthly bills, consumer alerts and information publications, and consumer rights. You will find a wealth of valuable consumer information.