Save Energy. Save Money.
During the winter and summer months, MTE members will notice an increase in their electric bills. Knowing what kind of weather is on the horizon can help you plan ahead, adjust your daily habits, and take steps to increase your home’s energy efficiency. There are plenty of simple steps that your household can take to stay comfortable while managing your energy consumption and reducing your monthly bill.
- Installing a smart power strip is a quick and easy way to save money while making your home more energy-efficient. Smart power strips can cut the power off to save energy since they are able to detect when a plugged-in device is in standby mode.
- Routinely replace or clean your air conditioner’s filter. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent. A good way to remember is to change your filter when you pay your electric bill, unless you have a longer-life filter.
- Some manufacturers set water heater thermostats at 140 degrees, but most households usually only require them to be set at 120 degrees. Consider lowering your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees to save energy and slow mineral buildup in the heater and pipes.
- Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material – not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
- Electric outlets and switch plates on exterior walls can be hidden sources of drafts that can contribute to high heating and cooling costs. Foam outlet sealers keep conditioned air in and outside air out, are easy to install and very inexpensive.
- Want to light up your outdoor space without increasing your energy use? Try outdoor solar lights! They’re easy to install and virtually maintenance-free.
- Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you finish cooking or bathing. When replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
- Replace any light bulb, especially those on more than one hour per day, with a light-emitting diode (LED) bulb.
- Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight for maximum energy efficiency. Test the seal by closing the door over a piece of paper (so that it’s half in and half out). If you can easily pull the piece of paper out, your seal may need to be replaced, or the latch may need to be adjusted.
- Use energy-efficient appliances. They are specially designed to consume minimum energy to complete the same tasks that you’d perform with standard appliances.
- In the spring and summer months, set your ceiling fans to turn in a counterclockwise direction. This will create a cool breeze. Remember, ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. Turn them off when you leave the room.
- Home cooling makes up a large portion of your energy bills. Raising the inside temperature a bit could be less uncomfortable than a high electric bill. Try to keep the difference between the temperature of your thermostat setting and the outside temperature to a minimum. The smaller the difference, the more energy you will save.
- Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away and lower the thermostat setting when you return home and need cooling. A programmable thermostat allows you to do this automatically without sacrificing comfort.
- Close your blinds or drapes in the daytime to keep out the greenhouse effect of the sun. Southern- and western-facing walls take the brunt of the sun’s heat, so invest in good drapes or shades for the windows on these walls and keep them closed.
- Cooking with a conventional oven can add unwanted heat to your house, forcing your A/C to work harder. Do more of your cooking with a microwave or slow cooker to keep the kitchen cool. Better yet, cooking outdoors is a great way to save energy and eliminate unwanted heat indoors
- Keep cold air out to save energy. Seal air leaks around pipes and any gaps around floor ducts, chimneys and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
- Set your heating system’s thermostat to 68 degrees. You can expect to add 3% to your electric bill for each degree above 68.
- Rotate the direction of your ceiling fans to clockwise and run at the lowest speed during the winter. This pulls cold air up and helps push warm air down.
- Close the fireplace damper when it is not in use. This will help keep the warm air inside your house and stop your heating dollars from going up the chimney.
- Keep draperies open during the day to help let in the heat and close them at night to help retain the heat.