5 Tips for new homeowners on saving electricity

Recently moved into a “new to you” home? Here’s the third in a week long series on things you can do to improve your home’s sustainability.

by Peter Speckner, Communications Coordinator

  1. Programmable thermostat at REEP HouseUse a programmable thermostat
    By tailoring your air conditioning (or heating) to your schedule, programmable thermostats can save both energy and money. Install your thermostat away from heating or cooling vents or registers, heat-generating appliances or electronics, open doorways and direct sunlight.
  2. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down to 120°F (55° C)
    This is the optimum temperature for your hot water heater. Most people don’t use water hotter than 120° — indeed, water hotter than that can scald you or a child — and thus the energy needed to keep the water above 120° isn’t used effectively. Lower the temperature, save money on your energy bill, and you’ll never skip a beat.
  3. Use a water heater blanket on your water heater
    While most modern hot water heaters are well-insulated, some are insulated better than others, and many older heaters aren’t insulated well at all. A small investment in a blanket will slowly and gradually save you money on your heating bill over time by keeping the heat in the water instead of letting it disperse slowly into your basement or utility closet. Also, be “careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment.” And of course, on-demand (or “tankless”) water heaters don’t require this treatment.
  4. Use a clothes line
    They may seem old-fashioned, but a clothes line uses far less energy than a dryer, and will also help to get you outside into the fresh air.
  5. Change your light bulbs from incandescent and CFL to LED
    Although LED (light emitting diode) light bulbs do cost more than incandescent and CFL (compact fluorescent lights), they use a fraction of the power and most have a life span of over 20 years.
  6. Limit the sources of phantom electrical power in your home
    Even when you turn most modern devices off (cable box, stereo system), they are still partially on – you can tell by the clock. Standby power can account for 10% of your annual hydro usage. Plug these devices into a power bar, and turn the power bar off, thus totally killing the power to all connected devices.

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