Friday, 27 June, 2008 10:48 PM
to Save on Energy Costs This Summer
courtesy of www.hamptnbc.com
prices and escalating food costs have nearly everyone looking for
a way to save money this summer. Angie’s List has some simple
ways to save a lot, but before we get to those, here’s the
most effective way to save.
Properly maintaining your major appliances will save you the most,
the longest and help you avoid huge repairs down the road. Air conditioners,
refrigerators and water heaters are among your home’s biggest
energy hogs. If they’re not regularly serviced, they’ll
lose about five percent of their original efficiency for each year
Who’s throwing away their cash by not maintaining these appliances?
About half of us, according to a new Angie’s List (www.angieslist.com)
But wait! There are other ways to save:
for dollars: Each degree you go below 78 degrees increases your
energy consumption by about 8 percent. If your monthly electric
bill is about $100, you’ll save $8 a month with EACH degree
you can stand above 78.
- Programmable thermostats
cost between $100 and $150, but they’ll help you more easily
adjust your room temperature to be higher when you’re asleep
or not home and lower when you need it.
- Inspect your filters
every other month: Replace your dirty air filters to save even
more by keeping your a/c running at top efficiency.
- Made in the shade:
Air conditioners with proper shading can be more efficient. Air
in a shaded space is cooler than the surrounding air meaning the
AC will have an easier time cooling the air before pumping it
into the home.
- Lower your water heater
base temperature to 120 degrees: You won’t notice the temperature
drop, but you’ll notice the savings.
- Drain a quart of water
from your water heater tank every 3 months to remove sediment
that slows down heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your
heater. Your owner’s manual should offer instruction.
- Properly insulate
your water heater tank and pipes to increase efficiency. Don’t
cover the tank thermostat.
- Use low-flow faucets
and shower heads throughout your home to decrease the amount of
water, and energy, used.
- Clean the condenser
coils at least annually.
- Regularly defrost
manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers.
- Check door seals to
ensure they’re airtight.
- Check the temperature.
Recommended settings are 37° to 40°F for fresh food and
5°F for the freezer. Stand-alone freezers should be kept at
- Refrigerators should
last about 15 years. If yours is more than six-years-old and repair
will cost more than half its original cost, get a newer, more
energy efficient model.
Other large appliances:
- Turn off electronics
when they are not in use.
- Run dishwashers and
washing machines only when you have a full load, but don’t
- Skip the drying cycle
on your dishwasher
- Replace washer fill
hoses every five years.
- Inspect and clean
the exhaust duct on the clothes dryer at least once a year.
- Clean the lint filter
before each use.
- Wash clothes with
warm or cold water to save on heating costs. Dialing down from
hot can cut your washer’s energy load by more than 50 percent.
- Artificial lighting
consumes almost 15 percent of an average home’s electricity
- Turn off the lights
in any room you’re not using.
- Install timers to
reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
- Consider high-efficiency
bulbs but pay attention to proper disposal of those that contain
ways to save money this summer include:
- Move during the week:
Summer is peak season for movers. Schedule your move for mid-week
instead of the weekend.
- Check your home and
garage for any signs of insect damage: July is the height of insect
season and a good time to look for signs of termites or other
pests that could harm your home. Getting rid of them when they
first light can save you big bucks down the road, and summer is
the best time to schedule a professional exterminator.
- Landscaping can reduce
cooling costs: Plant trees and shrubs on the east and west sides
of the house to shield the rays of the sun. Trees alone can add
3 to 7 percent to the value of your home.
- Be flexible and willing
to coordinate. If your service company has more than one customer
in your neighborhood, see if you can coordinate with those other
customers. This can cut down on your contractor’s fuel costs,
and keep him/her from passing them on to you.
- Regular engine tune-ups:
Have your mechanic do regular checks to avoid fuel economy problems.
Follow your car manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Annual,
biannual and mileage-based preventative maintenance is intended
to give technicians the chance to uncover any problems in the
- Monitor tire inflation
and mileage: Regularly monitor your tire inflation and mileage
to save money at the gas pump and in the repair shop. Proper tire
inflation helps you get better gas mileage. A drop in fuel efficiency
is often the first warning sign of a problem, so monitoring your
mileage can catch a problem before it gets too big (and expensive).
- Replace air filters:
Air filters protect your engine and can improve gas mileage up
to 10 percent.
- Know your oil: Check
your owner’s manual to see if your car has a specific oil
type and make sure your mechanic uses that type. Using different
motor oil can lower your gasoline mileage by 1 to 2 percent.
- Combine errands into
one trip: Several short trips, each one taken from a cold start,
can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance
when the engine is warm.
*1,909 Angie’s List members took our poll. Responses are
representative of Angie’s List members, but not the general
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