Electricity, natural gas, and water are all required for our everyday needs. As energy costs continue to rise, many households in Colorado will be searching for ways to reduce the cost of their energy bills. There is no better time to start practicing energy conservation than in “Energy Action Month” every October. Whether you rent or own a home, there are numerous things you can do to save on the energy throughout the winter.
Save Money on Heating
There is no doubt that heating is required during the cold winters in Colorado. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure your house stays warm while saving energy at the same time.
- Keep the thermostat set to 68-69 degrees. Set it back even more when you are sleeping or not at home. By turning down your thermostat one degree, you can save up to 3 percent on your heating bills.
- Make sure the insulation in your attic, walls, basement, crawl spaces, and floors is adequate and does not need to be replaced or reinforced. Also, make sure the entrances to your attic are insulated and weather-stripped to avoid air leaks.
- Check your furnace filter once a month and replace it as needed.
- It’s a good idea to have your HVAC systems tuned-up by a professional. Make sure that all heat registers and air ducts around your home are clear of obstructions.
- Think about installing storm windows and doors, and look to see if any weather-stripping or caulking needs to be re-done around your home.
- Remove window air conditioning units from your windows during the winter months to avoid unwanted drafts from entering your home.
- If you are cold, you can use a portable electric space heater to add warmth to the room you are in.
Saving Energy in the Kitchen
There is nothing better than a nice, home-cooked meal. However, the appliances used to cook these meals require a good amount of energy. The tips below will help you save energy while cooking in the kitchen, especially with some major holidays on the horizon.
- When cooking smaller meals, use a microwave, toaster or slow-cooker instead of the oven. Be sure to keep the burners on your oven reasonably clean so that they will use energy more efficiently.
- Try your best to not open the oven door while cooking. Each time you open the oven the temperature decreases 25-75 degrees.
- Try to keep your freezer full. Food retains cold temperatures, so a full freezer will run more efficiently than an empty one.
- Set out frozen food to defrost or use the microwave instead of running it under hot water.
- Never use your stove or oven for additional heat. This is not only unsafe, but it is a tremendous waste of energy.
- Be on the lookout for ENERGY STAR kitchen appliances. These will cook much more efficiently than older appliances.
Save Energy While Cleaning Your Home
Cleaning your home is a great time to look for ways where you can conserve energy.
- Run the dishwasher when it is full, this will reduce the number of times you run it and will consequently save you money on your water and electricity bills.
- Just like the dishwasher, run your washing machine with a full load. Each load of laundry uses approximately 50 gallons of water, so it is important to get the most out of every load.
- If you are able, switch to a front-loading washer as they use 1/3 less water than top loading models.
- Always clean your dryer’s lint screen after each load to make sure the dryer is running efficiently.
- In order to avoid losing large amounts of water each week, repair faucets and toilets that appear to be leaking.
Conserve Electricity in Your Home
Sometimes conserving energy is as simple as turning off a light. Here are some easy ways to reduce energy use around your home.
- When you leave a room, or if you are not home, turn off the lights.
- Use compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs or LED (light emitting diode) lights to conserve energy.
- Your computer uses a lot of electricity if it is left on all day. Turn it off when you’re not using it.
- Set the water heater to 120 degrees. You can turn it down lower if you won’t be home for an extended period of time. This will help you avoid heating water that you won’t be using.
Use Less Water in Your Home
Everyday activities such as showering, shaving and brushing your teeth consume energy and water. Try to save water in your daily personal care routine by doing the following.
- Showers instead of taking baths. Believe it or not, baths use 5-15 more gallons of water than showers.
- Install low-flow showerheads and try to limit the amount of time you spend in the shower to 5 minutes.
- To conserve even more water, turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth instead of leaving it running the entire time.
In preparation for this winter, we encourage you to follow some of these energy saving tips during Energy Action Month. At REenergizeCO, we are committed to serving our customers with high-quality information on home efficiency. If you have any questions regarding energy savings, energy audits, or anything else regarding home efficiency upgrades, please do not hesitate to contact us.