Summer Energy Savings Tips
During the summer, air conditioners are the biggest user of electricity. For many homes it accounts for more than half of the summer electric bill. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter and leave it there. Customers can immediately realize a three to five percent decrease in energy use for every degree they adjust the thermostat above or below the normal setting.
Set the thermostat even higher when at work or away from home for long periods of time - but no more than five degrees higher.
Change or clean air conditioner filters regularly to maximize the unit's cooling potential. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency.
Clear outside units of plants or brush.
Purchase a higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) rated unit when replacing cooling equipment or a heat pump. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. Experts recommend a 12 SEER or higher.
Note: Install a new energy-efficient heat pump and sign up for electric heat strip control and central air conditioner control for at least one (1) year and the Town of Wake Forest will credit your utility bill for $300. For more information, call (919) 435-9466.
Caulking, Weather Stripping, and Air Sealing
Add weather stripping and caulking to doors and windows. As much as 30-40 percent of a home's energy load is attributed to outside air penetrating the house.
Add weather-stripping tapes that adhere directly to door or window frames for a tight seal.
Fit foam or rubber weather-stripping into gaps around doors or windows.
Install rubber or foam bottom seals under doors.
Add a door sweep to seal the gap at the bottom of a door from drafts.
Increase attic insulation, which can save up to 30 percent on cooling and heating costs.
Insulation is measured in R-value, which is a measure of resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation value.
Experts recommend using an R-value of R-30 in ceiling areas.
Use ceiling fans whenever possible. Install ceiling fans (clockwise rotation) in the most-used rooms.
Whenever possible, cook several dishes at the same time. This method uses less energy than cooking each item separately.
Use a cooking timer when baking. Opening the oven door lets out 20 percent of the heat.
Use pots and pans that match the size of the burners on the stove. This will allow more heat to the pan and prevent heat from being lost to surrounding air.
Try using the range instead of the oven, or better yet, use the microwave or a pressure cooker. Both use less power than a standard electric oven.
Choose the right size refrigerator for your needs. Larger models use more energy.
Open and close the refrigerator door quickly. Know what you want before opening the door.
Make sure refrigerator door seals are airtight. Check it by closing a piece of paper in the door â€“ half in and half out. If you can pull the paper out easily, you may need to make some adjustments or replace the seal.
Keep food covered. Moisture buildup in the refrigerator makes the air inside harder to cool.
Although it is convenient and quick, running the dishwasher constantly adds up on the power bill.
Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it. Partial loads use just as much water and power as a full load.
Run the dishwasher, dryer and stove after the sun goes down to avoid adding heat to your house during the hottest part of the day.
When using the dishwasher, turn off the drying cycle if you don't need dishes right away.
Scrape dishes before loading them into the dishwasher so you don't have to rinse them. If they need rinsing, use cold water.
Consider using compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs. CFLs use a fraction of the energy of traditional incandescent light bulbs and last up to ten times as long. CFLs are available in home improvement stores in the lighting section. Replacing a traditional light bulb with a CFL will save $36 in energy costs over the life of the lamp.
Turn off the lights when not in use. Never leave too many lights on when you're away from home.
Use one large bulb instead of several small ones in areas where bright light is needed.
Use smaller lamps in work areas, like sewing areas, computer desks, so you don't light the entire room.
Decorating tip â€“ lighter colored walls, drapes, blinds and upholstery reflect light. Dark colors absorb heat and require more artificial light.
Turn down the water heater's thermostat setting to 120 degrees. Most water heaters are set by the manufacturer at 140 degrees. Most households operate comfortably at 120 degrees, saving money on heating costs and protecting your family by reducing the risk of hot water scalding.
When washing clothes, use warm or cold water â€“ not hot water â€“ and rinse with cold water.
Install a low flow showerhead. Showers use less hot water than baths.
Note: Install a new, energy-efficient water heater and sign up for electric water heater control for at least one (1) year, and the Town of Wake Forest will credit your utility bill for $150. For more information, call (919) 435-9466.