Download a helpful tips sheet for easy ways to save electricity, natural gas and water.
Heating and Cooling Tips
- Take advantage of CFU’s House Calls program for a free energy audit. Call 266-1761 and ask for Energy Services.
- Change or clean furnace filters every month to optimize the efficiency of forced air systems. If it’s time to replace your gas furnace, consider purchasing a highly efficient model with a variable speed DC blower motor. This type of furnace can save up to $200 per year in energy costs, and a rebate is available from CFU for qualifying purchases.
- Are some rooms in your home too cool, and others too warm? The problem may be caused by the way the baffles are set inside your heating ducts. CFU’s Energy Services Department can correct this problem in many homes. Call 266-1761 to see whether CFU’s duct balancing service could benefit you, or if you qualify for duct work improvement rebates.
- Consider using an electric space heater where you need it, rather than turning up the thermostat in your whole house. When used with care, space heaters can keep you comfortable while saving energy and money.
- Have a programmable thermostat? The most important thing is to set it on a schedule in order to save energy. Rule of thumb: if you are gone for more than four hours, turn your system down.
- How well is your home insulated? As insulation ages, it can compress and become less effective. Have a contractor check to make sure your insulation has an R-Value of at least R-30 (about 8 to 10 inches of insulation in side walls, or 12-14 inches in attics.) Be sure to insulate the basement sill, where the house meets the foundation. Insulation makes your house easier to heat and cool, saving money and energy all year long. CFU offers rebates to help cover the cost of materials and installation.
- Did you know a wood-burning fireplace can draw warm air out of your house and send it up the chimney? To control heat loss, consider installing tight-fitting glass fireplace doors, and be sure to keep the damper closed when your fireplace is not in use. Keeping the damper open is the equivalent of leaving a 48-inch window open during the winter.
- To reduce air conditioning load, plant shade trees on the south and west sides of your home. Keep shrubs trimmed to ensure unobstructed air flow around the condenser, and be sure to rinse off the condenser at least once per year.
Operating Home Appliances Efficiently
- Lower the temperature setting on your gas or electric water heater to 120 degrees. You will save 3 to 5 % of water heating costs for each reduction of ten degrees.
- Look for smart power strips to control your entertainment equipment.
- Refrigerators are one of the largest energy users in most homes, and older ones may cost two to three times as much to run. The greatest savings will be realized by replacing refrigerators manufactured before 1993.
- To keep your refrigerator operating efficiently, be sure to keep the condenser coils free of dust. The condenser coils are accessible at the bottom or rear of the refrigerator, and they should be vacuumed as needed. Freezer efficiency is impaired when frost builds up, so defrost as needed to keep it to a minimum.
- Be sure to check the efficiency rating label when you purchase new appliances, computers, televisions or home computers. Look for ENERGY STAR qualified units.
- Line dry clothes to save electricity or natural gas, depending on your dryer.
- Warm or cold water will wash many laundry loads as effectively as hot water and save energy.
- In the winter, install removable caulk on the inside of windows to reduce heat loss.
Other Ways to Conserve Energy
- LED bulbs are an excellent option. They are very efficient and can last for more than 20 years. The prices have gone down steadily as well as the LED components have dropped in price.
- Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can lower energy usage as much as 75% compared to incandescent bulbs. Today’s fluorescent bulbs come in a variety of illumination tones, so you don’t have to settle for the greenish tint that used to be associated with fluorescent light. Please read and follow these rules for safe disposal when discarding used CFLs.
- Install low-flow showerheads to reduce hot water use. This simple change can cut the amount of hot water used for each shower by as much as 50%.
- Look online: you can see your last 18 months of utility usage on your online utility account.
Smart Advice about Energy Safety
- Install a carbon monoxide detector to guard against leaks of this colorless, odorless, deadly gas. Have your furnace checked yearly for carbon monoxide leaks. During the heating season, be alert to signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, including fatigue and persistent flu-like symptoms.
- If you decorate your home’s exterior for the holidays, be sure to use electrical cords and lights that are certified for outdoor use. Keep extension cords clear of snow and water, and make sure outlets are equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters.
- Never take a risk where natural gas safety is concerned. CFU adds an odorant to natural gas to help you detect leaks. If you smell the strong odor of gas, make sure everyone leaves your home, then go to a phone nearby and call CFU at 268-5340. We will send a gas service specialist to find the leak and correct it. To protect your family and our community, CFU provides gas odor response service 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no charge.
- Don’t leave space heaters unattended where children or pets can reach them. Keep a safe distance between space heaters and drapes, upholstery or other flammable material.
- Avoid overloading extension cords. They can overheat and cause a fire, especially during the holiday season when extra lights or space heaters may be plugged in.
- If fuses blow or circuit breakers trip often, you may need to add new circuits or your breakers could be failing. Consult an electrician.
- Match the plug to the outlet. Don’t use converter or “cheater” plugs to insert a three-prong plug into a two-prong receptacle.
100 Tips to Conserve Water