Energy Efficiency Tips

Energy efficiency tip of the month, courtesy of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. 

January 2014: Sleek new flat-panel TVs can consume almost as much electricity as a refrigerator. Remember to change your TV’s default settings to a power-saver mode. Turn down the LCD backlight to save energy without sacrificing picture quality. Source: Cooperative Research Network

February 2014: Your heat pump can use 10-25% more energy if it’s not properly maintained. This includes regularly checking and replacing the air filter when it’s dirty. Keep brush and plants tidy around an outdoor unit, and dust the indoor return registers. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

March 2014: Appliances account for about 13% of your home’s energy use. If an appliance has energy-saving settings, use them! If an appliance is getting old, consider replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model. Use smart power strips for smaller appliances and electronics that continue to draw power even when turned off. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

April 2014: Check your HVAC system’s air filter monthly. If it looks dirty, change it. A dirty filter makes your system work harder. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

May 2014: Properly installed shades can be an effective way to improve your windows’ energy efficiency. Lower your window shades during the summer. In the winter, raise shades during the day and lower them on south-facing windows at night. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

June 2014: Owning a swimming pool doesn’t have to be a drain on your electric bill. Covering the pool will go a long way to reducing evaporation, which will cut back on refilling and reheating. You may also want to consider investing in a high-efficiency or multi-speed pool pump when it’s time for a replacement. Source: NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network

July 2014: Lighting accounts for about 13% of the average household’s electric bill. You can cut your lighting costs by choosing lightbulbs with increased output and longevity. Combining lights with automatic sensors can cut costs further. Source: NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network

August 2014: When shopping for a new appliance, consider its lifetime operation costs as well as the up-front purchase price. Check the Energy Guide label for the appliance’s estimated yearly operating cost, and look for ENERGY STAR units, which usually exceed minimum federal standards for efficiency and quality. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

September 2014: Like homes and other businesses, farms of all types can lower their electricity bills by turning off, or reducing use of, lights and small equipment in outbuildings. Timers and sensors can help, too. Regular cleaning, maintenance, and seasonal tune-ups help keep larger equipment running at top efficiency.

October 2014: Two degrees can make a big difference on your electric bill. Setting your thermostat two degrees (Fahrenheit) higher in summer and lower in the winter results in major energy savings. Investing in a programmable thermostat can save even more. Source: Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives

November 2014: Your kitchen can yield big energy savings. Check the refrigerator door seal for a tight fit. Run only full dishwasher loads, and use the microwave rather than oven to reheat food and make small meals. Finally, unplug small appliances when not in use—many draw power even when turned off. Source: Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives

December 2014: Did you know a computer can draw as much electricity as a new refrigerator? Turn the computer off or switch it into energy-saving mode when it's not in use. Also, cell phone and MP3 player chargers as well as plasma TVs and entertainment centers pull power even when they’re off. Unplug these and other appliances to save on your electric bill. Source: Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives