Energy Conservation Tips
The Meadow at Peabody Golf Course.
TIPS & TRICKS TO SAVE BY THE SEASON
Spring and summer are great times to embark on a year-round plan to reduce energy use and lower your household expenses. A realistic approach is to keep it simple to start - and go from there. Here are some places to begin your task as a good Energy Detective:
- "SHERLOCK" FOR DRAFTS. Check for any winter damage to caulking and sealing around your windows. Left unrepaired, tiny cracks and invisible gaps around doors, windows, and baseboards add up to a big source of waste all year round—and cost you money.
- CHANGE YOUR DIRECTION. Make sure to change the direction of the airflow on your ceiling fans. High speed counterclockwise in the summer and low speed clockwise in the winter. The wind effect created when warm air is pushed down toward the floor will keep you cool. In reverse, drawing air upwards will keep you warm.
- CLEAR CLOGS. When dust and pet hair build up on refrigerator condenser coils, the motor works harder and uses more electricity. As part of your annual energy-efficiency cleaning routine, vacuum the coils so that air can circulate more freely.
- IN HEAT. Before hot weather arrives if possible, make sure your air conditioners have been serviced and are ready to go. Always remember to wash or replace any filters on a regular basis. Some professionals recommend doing it every month.
- BUMP IT UP. Raising the setting on your air conditioner by just a couple of degrees is an effective way to save on energy costs without really noticing a change in temperature. Check this out: air conditioners uses 3% more energy for each degree set below 75 degrees!
- HOT AIR. Get rid of hot air. Use an exhaust fan to blow it out of your kitchen while cooking. The savings realized on cooling costs far outweigh the electricity used by a fan.
- CHILL. Consider taking lukewarm showers and baths to reduce the amount of heat and humidity in the air. It will add up to big savings
Peabody Municipal Light Plant understands that high energy costs can really pinch you family's budget. Unfortunately, a portion of what a typical family spends on utility bills is wasted. There are some simple steps you can take to save energy and money around the home.
By making a few small changes, you can reduce your energy costs and at the same time help reduce air pollution and dependence on foreign fuel imports. We hope the following energy saving tips are helpful.
For more information, on energy conservation, insulation or hiring a contractor, call PMLP at (978) 531-5975.
- "I.D. It". Identify where your home is losing energy. Perform or receive a home energy audit. Free home energy audits are always available through PMLP. Just call (978) 531-5975 for more information. If you are a natural gas customer, your gas supplier will also perform a no cost energy audit. If you prefer, there are some excellent do it yourself options available. Go to www.eere.energy.gov and type in "home energy audit" in the search box. Remember, you can install the most energy efficient heating system available in your home, but if your walls, windows and doors are not properly insulated, caulked and weather-stripped, the heat generated will escape and you will still burn a lot of fuel. Pay special attention to basements and attics where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found.
- OPERATE AT PEAK. Save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining your system. An annual inspection and cleaning by a professional is a must. Change your furnace filter frequently. Monthly replacement can save as much as 5% on heating bills.
- UNBLOCK. Be sure heavy curtains or furniture or toys do not block wall or floor heat registers and vents. If you have adjustable registers, direct warm airflow across the room, not straight up
- IN HOT WATER? Set your water heater to the “normal” setting of 120 degrees, unless your dishwasher requires a higher setting. Savings are 7-11% of water heating costs.
- WASH IN COLD. About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water. Unless you're dealing with oily stains, your warm or cold water setting will generally do a good job. Just switching from hot to warm can cut the energy use in half!
- CHECK THE FRIDGE. According to information found on the Energy Star web site, replacing a refrigerator bought in 1990 with a new Energy Star model would save enough energy to light the average household for more than four months! Visit www.energystar.gov for more great information.
- VENT LESS. Turn bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans off as soon as they have done the job. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air.
- IN & OUT. Close blinds and drapes at night to keep cold air out and open them during the day to let warm sun in. Cover windows with insulating shades or plastic sheeting to reduce heat loss.
- BRIGHTEST BULB. Compact fluorescent bulbs last 4-10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. And LED Bulbs last up to 40 years! They cost a bit more at first, but more than pay for themselves over time in energy savings.
- LAYER. For every degree you raise the thermostat, your bill goes up by as much as 3%. Try reducing the temperature if possible. Turning down the thermostat by 10 degrees at night or when the house is unoccupied can save as much as 20% in heating costs. Remember, small children and the elderly, in particular, may be vulnerable to problems at lower temperatures. Reduce the temperature gradually to give your body time to adjust to the new temperature level.
- HIGHER TECH. Install a programmable thermostat, compatible with your heating system. Set different temperatures during the night and day. Program it to warm up the house in the morning, keep it cooler during the day while occupants are away and warm it up again in the evening until bedtime. Consumers can save 2-3% on your heating bill for every degree your thermostats are turned down!
- DODGE THE DRAFT. Seal doors with draft-reducing weather-stripping and door sweeps. Keep more outside air out!
- UP THE FLUE. If you never use your fireplace, completely plug and seal the chimney flue. If you do use it, keep the damper closed unless a fire is going. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window open during the winter—it allows warm air to go right up the chimney. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
- TECH SAVVY. Many new TVs and other electronic devices use electricity even when they are switched off. These “standby losses” can add up to a constant 50 watts of use in a typical home—like leaving a light on all the time! (Switching off a power strip will serve the same purpose as unplugging.)
- COMMON SENSE. Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes for common sense energy savings.