|Home Efficiency Tips|
Sustainability Tips from Salt Lake City - for more information visit www.slcgreen.com
Rocky Mountain Power offers easy tips to conserve energy
Pay attention to the thermostat. Keeping the temperature a few degrees cooler can lower your heating bill and you can still be comfortable. Recommended setting is 65 to 70 F during the winter, 75 to 80 F during the summer and 58 F when you are away from the house for more than a few hours and consider installing a programmable thermostat.
Seal heating ducts and insulate ducts that run through unheated spaces. Check forced-air furnace filters regularly and clean or replace them as often as each month during the colder months.
Don't block registers, baseboards, radiators or cold air returns with furniture or other solid items. Air must circulate through and around them for maximum efficiency. If you are installing a new system consider shopping for a heat pump to increase energy efficiency. Heat pumps both heat in the winter and cool in the summer. Look for the Energy Guide label that contain the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for cooling season and HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) in the heating season. Look for 7.2 HSPF and 12 SEER or higher.
A simple insulation for windows is drapes or blinds.
Reduce Your Kitchen Energy Drain
The kitchen is an often ignored energy drain. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that cooking accounts for 4.5 percent of a homes total power bill. Consider these simple suggestions to conserve energy and lower kitchen utility costs. Set your refrigerator temperature between 37 to 40 F and the freezer compartment at 5F .
Free standing freezers used for long-term storage can be set at 0 F. For maximum efficiency, frost build-up should be kept under one-quarter inch.
Leave 2 inches of air space around the refrigerator or freezer exterior so air can circulate and cool the coils. Don't place your refrigerator or freezer near heat sources or in direct sunlight. Regular cleaning under the refrigerator will help keep coils operating at maximum efficiency. Periodically pull your refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum the coils. Be sure gaskets are clean and pliable.
Stock your shelves carefully. Air circulation in the refrigerator is essential for proper cooling, so leave space around the shelved items and don't block vents. In the freezer, air space has to be cooled, so tightly stocked shelves actually conserve energy. Consider using old-fashioned ice trays. It is estimated that an automatic icemaker increases energy consumption by 20 percent.
THERMWISE ENERGY-SAVING TIPS
Energy smart consumers buy natural gas appliances.
FURNACE TIPS: The single largest user of natural gas in the home is the furnace. A well-maintained furnace will work more efficiently and last longer. In the colder months change your air filters regularly and do not block vents or cold-air returns. If you have a central air conditioner, your filter may need to be changed more frequently because its working during the summer too. Consistent temperature control will help reduce your fuel usage and lower your energy costs.
WATER HEATER TIPS: Lower the temperature. Simply reduce the temperature setting on your water heather to 120 F or turn the dial from high to medium. Turn the dial to low if you are going to be gone for a few days or more. Reduce hot water usage by running clothes washer on cold, take showers instead of baths, fix leaky faucets, and run dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads.
CLOTHS DRYER TIPS: Consider drying clothes outside in warmer months. Always aim for drying full loads. Clean the lint screen between each load to increase dryer efficiency.
INSULATION: Consider upgrading insulation around pipes, floors and attics. Also, install weather striping around doors and windows where considerable energy is lost, particularly in older homes. To learn more click here.
GENERAL TIPS: There are a number of ways to cut your energy costs by making your home more energy efficient. Choose products that have earned the Energy Star label. Consider having an energy audit done on your home. The State of Utah runs an great program that can get you in touch with certified energy auditors and perhaps offer incentives to do energy efficiency upgrades to your home. The Utah Home Performance is aimed to help home owners make energy efficiency improvements. For more information on the program visit their website (click above) or call 1-800-943-0923.