Energy Efficiency Tips

NBW Energy can help you make your home more energetically efficient. If you want to take it to next level, here are some Energy Saving Tips to help you get started

Free and Low Cost Recommendations

Replace Light Bulbs

Turn off unnecessary lighting and replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and save 75% off lighting costs.

Unplug Electronics

Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.

Keep Cool With Ceiling Fans

Reduce air conditioning costs by using fans, keeping windows and doors shut and closing shades during the day. Most ceiling fans use less energy than a light bulb.

Wash Clothes in Cold Water

Wash clothes in cold water. Use hot water only for very dirty loads. About 90% of the energy used in a clothes washer goes to water heating. Do only full laundry loads. If you must do smaller loads, adjust the water level in the washing machine to match the load size, especially when using hot water. Always use cold-water rinse. Use bath towels at least twice before washing them.

Find and Seal Leaks

Sealing cracks, gaps, leaks and adding insulation can save up to 20% on home heating and cooling costs. Test for air leaks by holding a lit incense stick next to windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing or weather stripping.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Setting your air conditioner 5° higher will save up to 20% on cooling costs. Recommendation: 77°F during summer. When leaving, move the setting even higher -- about 78 to 80 degrees. Cooling the house when you return costs less than keeping it cool all the time. Taking these steps can save 10 percent or more on your summer cooling costs. During winter set the thermostat to 68°F to 70°F.

Power Down Your Computer

Enable "power management" on all computers and make sure to turn them off at night. A laptop computer uses up to 90% less energy than bigger desktop models.

Buy Energy Efficient Appliances

Always buy ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and equipment - they're up to 40% more efficient.

Load Up Your Dishwasher

Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded.

Maintain Your Clothes Dryer

Clean your dryer’s lint trap before each load. Make sure that the outdoor dryer exhaust door closes when dryer is off. Verify dryer vent hose is tightly connected to inside wall fitting. Check that the dryer vent hose is tightly connected to dryer. Make sure dryer vent hose is not kinked or clogged. Minimize clothes drying time; use moisture sensor on dryer if available. Dry consecutive loads to harvest heat remaining in dryer from last load. Consider using a “solar-powered” clothes dryer, an old-fashioned clothes line. When shopping for a new dryer look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off when clothes are dry.

Adjust Your Water Heater

Set water heater temperature no higher than 120°F and to the lowest setting when away. Water heating accounts for about 13% of home energy costs. For households with 1 or 2 members, a 115°F setting may work fine. Drain 1–2 gallons from bottom of water heater each year to reduce sediment build-up. Install heat traps on hot and cold water lines when it’s time to replace your water heater. Insulate exposed hot water lines. Limit shower length to 5–7 minutes. Install low-flow shower heads and fix dripping faucets. Don’t let water run while you are shaving or brushing your teeth.

Kitchen

Use your refrigerator’s anti-sweat feature only if necessary. Switch your refrigerator’s power-saver to “ON,” if available. Clean refrigerator coils annually. Set the refrigerator temperature to 34°– 37°F and freezer temperature to 0°– 5°F. Ensure gaskets around door seal tightly. Unplug unused refrigerators or freezers and use microwave for cooking when possible. When cooking on the range, use pot lids to help food cook faster. If you are heating water, use hot tap water instead of cold. Remember to use the kitchen exhaust fan when cooking and turn it off after cooking. Let hot food cool before storing it in the refrigerator. Rinse dirty dishes with cold water before putting them into the dishwasher. Use cold water for garbage disposal. Only run dishwater when fully loaded. Use air-dry cycle instead of heat-dry cycle to dry dishes.

Good Investment Recommendations

Seal Your Home and Ducts

Have your heating and cooling ducts professionally sealed to save up to $120 in coastal areas and up to $190 inland per year. Seal your home's envelope – walls, floor, ceiling and roof – to save up to 10% on your annual energy bill: Add weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce drafts. Use caulking to seal around ducts, plumbing and any other openings in walls, floors and ceilings to reduce air leakage. Begin in the attic, a common place for warm air to escape. Seal larger gaps that cannot be covered with caulk with expanding foam.

Maintain Your Cooling System

After air sealing, determine the current level of insulation. In the attic, measure the depth of existing insulation using a ruler. If there is less than R-22 (7 inches of fiber glass or rock wool or 6 inches of cellulose) you could probably benefit by adding more. Most U.S. homes should have between R-22 and R-49 insulation in the attic. Insulating ceilings, walls, attics, floors, crawl spaces and basements to recommended standards can reduce heating and cooling costs by 5% to 25%.

Upgrade Your Heating System

Replace heating equipment more than 15 years old with new ENERGY STAR qualified models. Equipment must be sized and installed properly. Old furnaces cost more to operate per year than new, ENERGY STAR qualified models that are 15% more efficient than standard models. An ENERGY STAR qualified electric heat pump is 20% more efficient and can save you about $130 annually. An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler uses features like electric ignition and new combustion technologies that extract more heat from the same amount of fuel, to be 10% more efficient than a new, standard model.

Maintain Your Cooling System

Have your air conditioning unit serviced to cut 15% of cooling costs.

Programmable Thermostat

Install an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat – It can save up to $100 per year in coastal areas and over $150 inland and pays for itself in less than 12 months. Make sure to install it away from natural cool and hot spots.

Windows

Install high efficiency windows, which are 40% more efficient than standard windows. Consider replacing singlepane windows with double-pane windows that are gas-filled with high performance glass (e.g., low emissivity or "low-e" glass). ENERGY STAR qualified windows may help reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15%. The windows must be sized and installed properly.

Note: Some measures may not be relevant depending on climate, the age of your home and appliances, and past improvements made to your home.
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