Reduce your Utility Usage

 

ppliances do not use energy, people do! The best way to reduce your monthly utility bills is to concentrate on the biggest energy hogs. Hot water is the biggest energy user in households. Refrigerators and freezers often come in a close second. If you use electric heaters and window air conditioners, they will use a lot of electricity during the months you use them. Read on for some energy-saving tips:

Appliances do not use energy, people do! The best way to reduce your monthly utility bills is to concentrate on the biggest energy hogs. Hot water is the biggest energy user in households. Refrigerators and freezers often come in a close second. If you use electric heaters and window air conditioners, they will use a lot of electricity during the months you use them. Read on for some energy-saving tips:

Insulate your hot water tank.
Many utilities offer free water heater wrapping. Set both top and bottom elements of your electric water heater to 120F. You can measure hot water only. Take a temperature reading before you make the adjustment. Wait six hours and take another reading.

Showers
If your family takes mostly showers, buy a water-saving showerhead rated at 3 gallons per minute or less. You can buy a good one for as little as $5. New showerheads give spray and deliver water with plenty of pressure. Water-saving pulsating shower massage models are also available. A water-saving showerhead could save you up to two cents every minute you shower!

Clothes washing and Dishwashing
Another major use of hot water is clothes washing. Take two simple steps to cut most of the energy wasted: First, do not run partial loads, or, if you must, set the water a smaller load. Second, use the warm wash/cold rinse setting for most of your laundry loads. Only diapers and oily work clothes need a hot water wash. Using only full loads is a good rule of thumb for automatic dishwashers. If you wash dishes by hand, use the two sink or basin method - one for washing, one for rinsing. Do not leave the faucet running. That can use as much water as a shower or bath.

Refrigerators and Freezers
Take your refrigerator's temperature. The ideal setting is 40F; 0F for freezers. Combination refrigerator/freezers usually have only one control, in the refrigerator thermometer inside the refrigerator section. Take a temperature reading after a half hour. Adjust the setting higher or lower to achieve 40F. Wait one hour before checking the temperature again. Re-adjust if necessary.

Lighting and Entertainment
The easiest way to save on lighting and entertainment energy bills is to turn off lights, TV sets and stereos when you're not using them. Here are some other lighting tips ceiling fixtures with lower wattage bulbs. Or replace two 60-watt bulbs with one 100-watt bulb. Place floor, table and desk lamps where you read and work. Use only the wattage you need.

How Much Can You Save?
Estimate your energy costs again after making these recommended changes. Fill in the chart below and compare it with the chart you made on page 4. How much you can reduce energy bills for hot water and appliances also depends on how old your hot water heater and appliances are. Newer, energy-efficient models cost less to use.

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