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Lower My Bill Toolkit

Lower My Bill Toolkit offers tips and steps to help you determine where you may find savings on your utility bills with just a few small changes in your household routine.  Please follow these steps:

  • Step 1 - Reduce my energy costs
  • Step 2 - Read my meter
  • Step 3 - Review energy saving tips and appliances
  • Step 4 - Equalize my payment
  • Step 5 - Analyze my account

The following energy saving tips can help you find ways to save energy in your home.

Cooling Energy Tips

  • Of course, the best way to reduce your air conditioning bills is to reduce heat in your home, especially during summer months. The tips below can help reduce the workload on your air conditioning solution.
  • Set the temperature a little higher. Most people can be comfortable with a setting of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit, plus you'll save 7 percent to 10 percent of your cooling costs for each degree above 78.
  • When you leave home, turn off the air conditioning or set the thermostat up a few degrees.
  • Be sure your filters are clean. They should be checked monthly. (Remember to check filters that may be in a unit located in the attic.) Coils of an outdoor unit should be free of debris and not blocked by plants, shrubs, etc. Be sure the return air grill inside your house is not blocked by furniture or other items. (If you have more than one return, check them all.) A return needs a free flow of air for the air conditioning to operate most efficiently.
  • Keep doors and windows closed when air conditioning is on. Turn off kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans when your air conditioning is operating.
  • Caulk and weather-strip leaky windows and doors.
  • Use a ceiling fan or portable fan to supplement your air conditioning. A fan can make you feel three to four degrees cooler (and only costs a half-cent per hour to operate) so you can set your thermostat a few degrees higher and save on cooling costs. Use in occupied rooms since fans cool people, not rooms. As a safety precaution, turn off ceiling fans when you leave your home.
  • For central air conditioning systems, keep the fan switch on your thermostat in the "auto" position when cooling. This gives you better cooling and humidity control. Having the fan switch "on" continuously could cost $25 extra a month on your electric bill.

Heating Energy Tips

  • Keep the thermostat on your heating system at the lowest comfortable setting.  We recommend 68-70 degrees.  Every degree above 70 increases your cost by 7 percent to 10 percent.
  • Check filters in heating and cooling equipment every month and clean or change as needed.  Dirty filters may increase operating costs up to 20 percent or more and may damage equipment.
  • Have your heating system and ductwork inspected annually by a professional to ensure your equipment is operating safely and at peak efficiency.
  • Close the fireplace damper tightly when you are not using it.  A good chimney can draw up to 20 percent of the air out of the house every hour.  Heat from the heating system goes up the chimney even when you have a fire burning.
  • Ceiling fans are not only good for cooling your home in the summer.  In winter, the direction of the blades can be reversed to push warmer air on the ceiling down to the living space.
  • Caulk, seal and weather strip all openings from your home to the outside.  Install plastic sheeting or storm windows over old or leaking windows.  Eliminating air leaks in your home can save you up to 10 percent in energy costs.
  • Unless you have a gas or oil furnace, which needs air for combustion – keep crawl space vents closed in the winter.
  • If you plan to be away for several days, turn the thermostat down to the lowest setting, but not off (to help limit the possibility of freezing pipes).
  • Using a portable heater for “spot” heating lets you lower the temperature in the rest of the house, but using it too much can be costly.  Always be sure to keep portable heaters away from unsupervised children and flammable objects.

Water Heater Energy Tips

  • Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees, or if your dishwasher is without a booster, 140 degrees (make sure you turn off the electric breaker before attempting to adjust the thermostat).
  • Take showers instead of baths.  A shower saves 4-5 gallons of water.
  • Wash in cold water with special detergent.  For most loads, it will do a good job.  The cost of an average load with hot water is about 38 cents.  An average load washed in cold water is about 1.5 cents.
  • Wash a full load of dishes.  Dishwashers use approximately 15 gallons of hot water.  Washing by hand could use as much as 20 gallons.
  • Repair leaky faucets.  One faucet leaking one drip per second wastes about 2,300 gallons of water per year.
  • Turn off your electric water heater if you’re going to be gone more than three days.  It will take only about one hour to reheat the water when it is turned back on.
  • Use a low-cost insulation on hot water pipes.
  • Insulate your older water heater with at least R-6 insulation.  First, though, be sure to check your manufacturer’s warranty – in some cases, insulating a water heater will void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Around The House Energy Tips

  • Microwave ovens draw less than one-half the power of a conventional oven and foods cook in about one-fourth the time, greatly reducing cooking costs.
  • Turn off the oven about 15-20 minutes before the end of cooking time.  The leftover heat in the oven will finish the job, if you don’t open the oven door.
  • Turn your stove and range down to a simmer as soon as food or water begins to boil.  This setting maintains cooking temperature, cooks food more evenly and saves energy.
  • Resist the temptation to open the oven door to check on food while it’s cooking.  Each time you open it, 25 percent of the oven’s heat is wasted.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights whenever possible.
  • A 16cu. Ft., auto-defrost Freezer costs about $9 per month to run & an 18 cu. Ft., auto-defrost Refrigerator/Freezer costs about $13.50 per month to run representing about 15% of your energy usage.