Energy Saving Tips

The ENERGY STAR label is your guide to saving energy and money. ENERGY STAR is the government-backed, trusted symbol of energy-efficient products, homes and buildings.

Weatherization

Cracks or gaps in vulnerable areas, like windows, doors, electrical outlets, plumbing penetrations, and fireplaces, lead to significant home energy loss. These openings can consume up to 40% of your home's heating and cooling energy and can leave your family vulnerable to the elements.

The good news is that it's easy and inexpensive to reduce this leakage. To learn more about prime energy-wasting areas and simple, effective do-it-yourself remedies, read SCE's information on caulking, weather stripping and insulation.

Caulk is a pliable material used to fill holes, openings, and cracks found where two different materials or parts of a building are joined. Caulking keeps hot air outside your home in the summer and warm air inside your home in the winter.

Areas frequently in need of caulking include:

  • Cracks and gaps around windows and doors.
  • Cracks beneath baseboards at the bottom of walls.
  • Holes where plumbing pipes and telephone wires enter the house.
  • Holes around exhaust fans and dryer vents, and where sink and bathtub drains exit the house.

Summer is the best time to caulk. The heat helps the caulk dry quickly and you don't have to worry about your project being interrupted or ruined by a rainstorm.

Weather stripping is a narrow strip of material applied around exterior doors and windows. When the windows or doors are closed, the weather stripping is compressed and prevents air from entering or exiting. This can reduce your energy bill by as much as 15%, and cuts down on dirt, dust, noise, moisture, and drafts entering your home around loose-fitting windows and doors.

Weather stripping is available in many forms and materials. For doors and windows used frequently, the best quality materials will provide the best insulation and durability.

Air can also enter and escape from your home through electric outlets installed in the exterior walls. Inexpensive outlet gaskets can be installed to prevent these leaks. Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation.

Time Saving Tip

If you cant apply weather stripping right away, use this "quick-fix" solution: block drafty doors or windows with rolled-up bath towels. Stylish door runners are also available, some in holiday designs that can add a festive, seasonal flavor to the decor of your home.

While insulation does not produce hot or cold air, it does prevent it from flowing into or out of your home. By reducing unwanted heat gain, heat loss, and infiltration, insulation makes your home more comfortable and reduces your energy costs at the same time.

Insulating your home.  The areas that benefit most from insulation include:

  • Attic floors, doors, ceilings, and walls.
  • Exterior walls and walls between heated and unheated spaces.
  • Floors over unheated or outside areas.
  • Ducts and heating pipes in unheated areas.
  • Water heaters, especially in unheated areas. (Most water heaters built after 1978 are already insulated and should not be wrapped. Refer to the manufacturer's specifications.)
The Kitchen

Your kitchen uses more energy than any other area of your home. Good energy-efficient kitchen habits can make a real difference in your electric bill, especially when it comes to cooking, refrigeration, and dishwashing.

Here are tips to help you conserve energy in the kitchen:

Try to "rightsize" your kitchen appliances. How much refrigeration or freezer space do you really need? How does your family cook and dine? Purchase appliances relative to your family's needs. Smaller appliances, such as microwave ovens, toaster ovens, slow cookers, and electric skillets, use much less energy than bigger (and sometimes less efficient) ovens and stoves.

Use cold water to operate your garbage disposal. This saves energy and helps the unit dispose of grease, which solidifies in cold water and can be ground up and flushed away.

Look for the EnergyGuide label when you invest in new appliances. When purchasing new appliances, use the EnergyGuide labels to compare the annual operating costs of similar models.

 

The Bathroom

You may not think of electricity when it comes to the bathroom. What does power have to do with your water, after all? When it comes to hot water, a lot-especially if you use an electric hot water heater. As a related note, even if you're conscious of your energy usage, don't forget to conserve one of our most valuable resources: water. Here are some helpful hints:

Though you may associate the bathroom with water more than electricity, the two utilities are closely linked, especially if you use an electric water heater. Being conscious of both your electricity and water usage in the bathroom will help you reduce energy costs and maintain a healthy environment. Here are some tips:

  • Replace worn washers in leaking faucets promptly. A faucet that leaks one drop of water every second wastes 200 gallons of water a month!
  • Tighten or plug leaking joints in water pipes.
  • Install energy-saving, low-flow showerheads and flow restrictors on showerheads and faucets. These devices reduce water flow to a maximum of three gallons per minute and, in most cases, do not affect water pressure. You can continue to enjoy a comfortable shower while saving up to two gallons of water per minute.
  • Get into the short shower habit. A five-minute shower uses far less water than a bath.
  • Don't let the hot water run while you're washing your hands, brushing your teeth, or shaving. Turn the water on only when you're actually using it.
  • Make sure your hot water pipes are properly insulated. This guards against heat loss and gets hot water to your faucet faster.

 

Hot Water Heaters

About 20% of the energy used by the average home is used to heat water for showers, baths, washing machines, and dishwashers. Saving money on your hot water heater doesn't mean taking cold showers. Some hot water heaters are more energy-efficient than others. And no matter what model you own, the simple steps below will reduce your household hot water consumption without significantly affecting your lifestyle.

Keep the tank clean.

If you don't have a water softener, periodically drain off the sediment in the bottom of the tank. Sediment buildup can insulate the water from the heating element. Open the drain valve or faucet at the base of the water tank and drain a gallon or two of water into a container until it runs clean.

Lower the temperature.

Try setting the thermostat on your water heater to "low" or 120F. Water at this temperature should be hot enough to meet most household needs. If not, raise the water heater temperature a few degrees at a time until you are satisfied. For every 10F you lower your water heater's temperature, you save up to 11% of your water heating costs. A lower temperature can also increase the life of your water tank.

NOTE: If you use a dishwasher, a temperature setting of 140F is generally recommended. However, if your dishwasher has a built-in water-heating unit or uses an instantaneous water heater, your water heater temperature can be set to "low" or 120F. These models heat the water temperature to 140F as it enters the dishwasher.

Give your water heater a vacation too.

When you leave your home for a weekend or longer, turn your electric water heater off (check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's instructions), or turn your gas water heater to the "pilot" setting. Electric water heaters are most easily shut off using the circuit breaker panel. Turning off a water heater for a shorter less than 48 hours is not recommended.

 

Give us a call and we will give you a free estimate to update your Hot Water Heater to a new energy-efficient model or completely update your indoor plumbing.

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