Green Power Switch News
Vol. 5, No. 3 Fall 2005
Stretch your energy dollars
Because of soaring demand for power and higher electric rates to cover the escalating cost of fuel, many people are expressing renewed interest in energy conservation. The experts at TVA’s energy right program offer these tips to help you lower your electric bills:
Where that energy dollar goes – In a typical all-electric home, 35 percent of a homeowner’s energy dollar goes to heating, 20 percent to cooling, 20 percent to water heating, and the other 25 percent to lighting, cooking, appliances, and other uses.
78 for summer – When you’re air conditioning, set your thermostat to 78 degrees. Your cooling costs increase by about 5 percent for each degree lower than 78.
68 for winter – In the winter, set the thermostat at 68 degrees. Your heating costs increase by about 3 percent for each degree above 68.
Make it automatic – Programmable thermostats that automatically adjust your thermostat during the day and night can save you money and energy any time of the year.
Be kind to your air conditioner – When the air conditioner is on, turn off any unneeded lights and appliances so the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard.
Keep it indoors – Caulking and weather-stripping around doors and window frames will help maintain indoor air temperatures in summer and winter.
Don’t heat water you won’t use – If your house is going to be empty for an extended period of time, turn off your water heater. Why spend money heating water that no one will use?
Spin fast – Use a fast spin speed on your washing machine to extract as much water as possible from your clothes. That reduces dryer time.
Dry it out – Crawl spaces and attics should be wellventilated to reduce moisture buildup. In the crawl space, cover about 80 percent of the ground with six-mil plastic to form a vapor barrier, leaving several feet around the perimeter exposed.
Insulate your outlets – Those tiny holes in your electrical outlets let cold air inside. You can remove the outlet covers and insert specially designed insulation pads. Also, put insulating plugs in all outlets that aren’t in use.
Plant a tree – Mature shade trees not only look beautiful but can also cut your cooling bills. Plant them around your home, especially on the south and west sides.
Chill out – Let cooked foods cool to room temperature before putting them in the refrigerator. Hot foods and their containers will raise the temperature in the fridge, making it work much harder. But take care not to leave food out too long, or it could spoil. Follow recipe instructions.
Additional energy-efficiency information, including do-ityourself energy surveys for residential and business consumers, is available at www.energyright.com. The energy right home page also provides useful information on electric heat pumps and water heaters.