The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

January 3, 2013

Be aware of energy usage when temps are low



* Regularly change or clean furnace filters. Doing so monthly can save $5 or more on each month’s bill.

* Keep the temperature on electric water heaters at 120F, and insulate the water heater and its pipes.

*  Use ceiling fans on reverse to pull cool air up and force warm air down.

*  Close vents in rooms that are not in use and keep the door shut.

* Keep furniture and drapes away from vents so air can flow freely.

* Perform basic weatherization: Repair holes and cracks that let in drafts. Use weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows; plug leaks and gaps in insulation on ducts and pipes; insulate attics, basements and crawl spaces as well as living spaces; and install storm doors and windows for an extra layer of insulation.

* Try washing most clothes in cold water, and always rinse in cold water. Clothes will fade less and have fewer wrinkles, and using the water heater less could save up to $100 annually. Also, wash only full loads.

* Dry lighter items first to give the dryer a chance to heat up before drying heavier items. Don’t over dry clothes. Running the clothes dryer 15 minutes less per load can save up to $35 per year.

* Place a refrigerator in a well-ventilated, relatively cool spot and keep condenser coils clean. Keep it full but not overloaded, and set refrigerator temperature at 37F to 40F and freezer temperature at 5F. If there is an old refrigerator or freezer in the home that gets little use, unplug it and use just the main one to save up to 15 percent on the electric bill.

* Use a microwave whenever possible. It will use one-third to one-half the energy of a conventional oven.

* Air dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher drying cycle. Wash only full loads.

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