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Low/No Cost Tips to Help You Get Prepared for Winter


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There are many simple, low- or no-cost things you can do around your home that will help to reduce your energy usage and save on your electric bill.

  1. Unplugging underutilized appliances in your home can lead to big savings in your electricity usage.
    • Chargers for phones still use electricity even when the phone is unplugged.
    • Your home entertainment electronics pull a great deal of electricity if they remain plugged in. Plug TVs, stereos, and DVD players into a power strip and shut them off using the power strip’s On/Off button.
  2. Take advantage of your computer’s energy saving features.
    • If you have an ENERGY STAR® qualified computer, enable its shut-down features.
    • The “sleep” mode reduces electricity usage by up to 70 percent during inactive periods.
    • The “hibernate” mode shuts the computer down after a specified time, allowing you to restart using less electricity.
    • Shut off the computer if you’re going to be away more than 2 hours.
  3. Control the temperature.
    • In the winter, try setting your thermostat to 68 degrees when you’re at home and lowering the temperature at night or when you’re away.
    • In the summer, set the thermostat to a minimum 78 degrees; circulate cool air using box fans and ceiling fans.
    • Open shades in the winter to let sunlight in. Close them in the summer to keep your home cooler.
  4. Use appliances wisely.
    • Set your water heater to 120 degrees.
    • Wash full loads of laundry in cold water.
    • Clean your dryer’s lint filter after each use.
    • When possible, dry clothes on a clothesline outside.
    • Wash full loads of dishes in the dishwasher; use shorter wash/rinse cycles; dry with the air dry setting.
  5. Turn off the lights.
    • Turn off the lights when you leave a room at home and in the office.
    • Incandescent bulbs are inefficient, so turn them off when you don’t need them. Replace them with CFL or LED bulbs.
    • Turn off fluorescent lights if you’re going to be gone 15 minutes or more.
  6. Weatherize those nasty leaks.
    • Caulk, weather-strip, and insulate your windows and doors wherever you find air leaks.
  7. Install Compact Fluorescent bulbs.
    • Swapping five incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescents can save you about $60 a year.
    • CFLs cost 3-10 times more than incandescents, but last 6-15 times longer.
  8. Conserve water heat.
    • Wrap your water heater with a water heater blanket.
  9. Change your heating and cooling filters.
    • Replace filters on your air conditioner. Clean filters can lower the air conditioner’s energy consumption 5-15%.
    • Replace furnace filters monthly or as needed.
  10. Install low-flow plumbing fixtures.
    • Install energy efficient shower heads; investing $10 on an energy efficient shower head can yield hot water savings of 25-60%.
    • Install faucet aerators (the screw-on portion of the faucet) that have a flow rate of no more than 1 gallon per minute.

Soure: AEP