Tips to Save Money and Reduce Energy Usage at Home
Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill:
• Fresh Filter: Most central heating and air conditioning units have a filter at the air intake that needs to be changed or cleaned every 1-3 months.
o When the filter gets dirty or dusty, it’s harder for your system to pull air through which means your system is working harder.
o A dirty air filter makes your fan work harder
o Changing the filter will also help with anyone family member who suffers from allergies.
o You can even choose an air filter that’s designed to trap allergens
o You can see immediate, short-term results savings when you replace your air filter
• Regulating the temperature of your thermostat: Lower the temperature when you are not at home and/or at night
o Better yet, buy an energy-efficient programmable thermostat to program it to automatically shut down heating or air conditioning when you leave the house and to turn it back on 20-30 minutes before you return.
o Program the thermostat so you reduce the temperature 30-60 minutes after you normally go to bed since you don’t need as much heating under the bed covers
o For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save approximately 3 percent on your heating bill. Generally, lowering your thermostat by five degrees will make an impact on your energy bill.
• Refrigerator: In a typical house, the fridge is the single biggest energy-consuming appliance in the whole house, using up to 25 percent of the energy in most homes.
o Leaks in door seals and using the anti-sweat setting on the fridge will use more energy
• Anti-Sweat Heater: Used to prevent condensation and frost, but is not needed in CA’s climate
o Make sure air can circulate around the condenser coils
o Once or twice a year, unplug the fridge and clean the coils, which are either on the back or front, behind a kick plate. You can just use warm, soapy water if they’re greasy or grimy.
o Cleaning the coils enables the fridge to work more efficiently
o Chest freezers use 9-22% less energy than upright models since they allow less air in through the door. Side by side fridges are the least efficient
o If your fridge is more than 15 years old, buy an Energy Star one, since it’s probably wasting more energy than it’s using.
o When designing a kitchen, keep fridge away from stove or dishwasher and out of direct sunlight and other heat sources
o Remove rarely used extra fridges. If a second fridge is used occasionally, empty and unplug the refrigerator (leaving the door slightly open to prevent mold) until it’s being used
• Water Heater: The water heater is the second most largest energy user in most homes.
o A water heater purchased before 1994 is probably no longer cost effective. Modern water heaters are more efficient and provide better insulation, so replacing it can dramatically help you save money.
o If your water heater is warm to the touch, wrapping it can save 10% of water heating costs. Newer gas units have built-in insulation and can save significant energy.
o Use the VACATION or pilot setting when on vacation
o For electric water heaters, install a timer to turn off the heater at night.
o Water heaters should be strapped to a wall stud for earthquakes.
Other Options: Tankless Water Heaters (also known as on-demand)—
• Tankless (Demand) water heaters provide hot water only as it’s needed. Tankless water heaters don’t produce standby energy to heat water.
• Demand water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. Even greater energy savings of 27%–50% can be achieved if you install a demand water heater at each hot water outlet.
Laundry: Ways to Save
o Wash full loads in cold water with shortest cycles
o An ENERGY STAR qualified appliance uses 14 gallons of water per load, compared to a standard machine which uses 27 gallons of water. Over a lifetime, that’s 43,000 gallons of water saved.
o Pre-soak heavily soiled garments rather than using heavy-duty setting
• Dryer: Typically the second highest energy appliance in the house:
o Energy Star does not label clothes dryers since most dryers use similar amounts of energy
o The most efficient way to dry clothes is to hang dry them on a drying rack or a clothesline outside. We get so much sunshine in California, why not use it to our advantage?
o On your dryer, use Moisture Sensor which shuts off the dryer the moment clothes are dry. This saves on your utility bill and prolongs the quality of your clothes.
o If your dryer has spin options, chose a high spin speed to reduce the amount of remaining moisture
o Make sure you clean the lint filter before using the dryer every time. This helps the dryer efficiently dry, as much as 30%, and prevents a fire hazard.
o Keep your dryer’s exhaust clean. A clogged exhaust lengthens drying time and increases the energy.