LOW COST – NO COST ENERGY SAVING TIPS

Have your heating system checked to make sure it is in top condition. Also check your furnace filter once a month and change it when it is dirty.

If you’re going away for the weekend, lower the thermostat to 60 degrees. Also, lower the thermostat five to ten degrees at night. A programmable thermostat does this automatically and will pay for itself quickly. (Heat pumps may be an exception. Ask your dealer how to operate them most efficiently.)

Close doors and shut off vents to a few rooms that are not being used. For electric baseboard or ceiling cable systems, turn the thermostat way down.

Use kitchen and bathroom fans only as long as necessary. They draw out air that you’ve paid to heat or cool.

Insulate heating ducts, especially those that run through crawl spaces or other unheated areas.

Take shorter, not-so-hot showers. Normally, showers use less water than baths.

Run your clothes washer or dishwasher only for full loads.

Save energy by setting your water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have an electric water heater, turn off the power before changing the setting.

Drain a bucket of hot water from the faucet at the base of your water heater several times a year. This will reduce sediment buildup and make the heating elements last longer.

Clean your clothes dryer lint filters after each load. Check dryer exhaust ducts for leaks or plugging and make sure they are vented outside. If your dryer has a moisture sensor, use it to automatically turn off the unit when clothes are dry.

A dishwasher uses more energy to dry dishes than to wash them. Use the “energy saver” switch on your dishwasher. This usually shuts off the drying element.

Cover all liquids stored in your refrigerator. Moisture drawn into the air makes the refrigerator work harder.

Locate refrigeration appliances away from heating equipment, vents and direct sunlight. Provide adequate space on all sides, and above, for ventilation. If you have a freezer or extra refrigerator, place them in a basement or other conditioned space, as opposed to a garage, where the unit will work much harder in warmer months.

Check gaskets around refrigerators and freezers by closing the door on a piece of paper. If it pulls out with little or no drag, the seal probably needs to be replaced. Keep the condenser coils cleaned and the “toe grill” at front unobstructed.

Turn off all appliances, TVs, lights and radios when not in use.

New energy-efficient lighting gives more light for less energy. An 18-watt compact fluorescent tube gives you more light than a 60-watt bulb at one-quarter the energy cost. They cost more initially, but are far less expensive in the long run.

Do not preheat your oven unless your recipe uses baking powder. Also, turn the oven off just before the allotted cooking time is over. Retained heat will complete the job.

Use the proper appliance for the job. A microwave, conventional or toaster oven is often quicker and more economical to use than an electric range.