As we welcome fall foliage and football season, we also celebrate Energy Awareness Month in October. Here are a few tips to help you start saving energy in your home:
Change Your Filters. Clean or replace the filter in your forced-air heating and cooling systems each month. Foam filters can be rinsed with water but be sure they are dry before replacing. Fiberglass filters need to be replaced periodically.
Reduce Water Heating. Turn down the water heater temperature dial to 120 degrees F, or to the “warm” setting if you have a dishwasher. Be sure to check your manufacturer’s instructions for minimum water temperature.
Try Efficient Lighting. Use compact fluorescent bulbs. They produce about three to four times as much light per watt as incandescent bulbs. While compact fluorescents are initially more expensive, they last up to 10 times longer.
Charge Smarter. Put your laptop AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off (or will turn off automatically) to maximize savings; the transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
You can find additional home energy saving tips on our website, and can monitor your home’s energy usage by logging into My Account.
Keeping your home or business cool requires more energy as temperatures rise. But a little preparation can help you stay comfortable and manage your summer energy bills.
Here are some simple ways to help save money and energy:
Turn off lights when you leave the room
Close window blinds and curtains to keep the sun from warming your home or office
If health permits, set the temperature on your air conditioner a few degrees higher – but be sure to stay comfortable
Use window or whole house ventilating fans
Unplug electronics when they are not in use
Place a dry towel in your clothes dryer with each load of wet laundry to absorb dampness and reduce drying time
Barbecue outside instead of heating up your kitchen with the stove or oven
For more ways to save, visit our Save Money and Conserve Energy section. You will find tips to help you save money and energy, as well as information about programs in your area that can help you save even more.
Pepco and the Arbor Day Foundation are offering free trees to help you conserve energy. Trees are available on a first-come, first-serve basis from March 20 through June 6, while supplies last. Distribution is limited to two, 2-to-4 foot trees per customer. To get your free trees, visit www.arborday.org/Pepco today.
Properly planted trees help reduce energy use through summer shading and by slowing winter winds. As your trees grow, they will have the potential to lower energy bills by 15 to 30 percent.
To help you plant your tree in the right place, the Arbor Day Foundation offers you an online mapping tool that will:
Demand for electricity is expected to increase as the extremely cold weather lingers for the next several days. Customers are encouraged to conserve electricity, if health permits – especially from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Customers can take these simple electricity conservation steps:
Set thermostats lower than usual, if health permits.
Turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.
Gather in a central room where you have alternative heat. At night, cover windows with drapes or blankets to minimize heat loss. During the day, open blinds to let sun warm the space.
Keep draperies and shades open during the day to let the sunshine in; close them at night.
Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
Knowing which devices are using the most energy in your home can help you save energy and money.
Here are three of the top energy users in your home:
Did you know that the heating system in your home typically represents 30% of your total energy usage? If your heating system is less than 20 years old, it should still have some life left in it. You can expect as many as 20 to 25 years of service from properly installed and maintained heating equipment. To help make this long service life a reality, it is a good idea to have your heating system inspected and adjusted on an annual basis. If your system is over 10 years old, then you should place it on an annual maintenance program. Good preventive maintenance will ensure that your system runs safely and efficiently for many years.
Air Conditioning Units (Central Unit and Room/Window Air Conditioners)
Air conditioning systems can last for 15 years or more. If your system doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to, you should have a service person look at it to determine the likely cause of the problem. If there is a significant problem, simply comparing the price to repair the system with the cost of replacement will give you a good idea of what you should do. If your system is already over 10 years old, you may want to consider a new unit. Especially if you have a large home with a high cooling load, the annual savings from installing a new system may pay for itself in a short time. Lowering your thermostat to 68°F during the winter and 78°F in the summer can also help reduce your monthly energy bill. Be sure to keep your air conditioning unit well-tuned with periodic maintenance.
Water Heating System (Bathrooms, Clothes Washers and Dishwashers)
After heating and cooling, water heating is typically the next largest consumer of energy in the United States. In general, factors impacting water heater energy consumption can be separated into two categories – factors affecting the amount of hot water used and those affecting the efficiency of the water heating system. Factors impacting water usage are the use of water for bathing, showering, shaving, and other purposes as well as the use of clothes washers and dishwashers. Showering habits normally have the largest impact on water heating energy consumption. If your water heater is more than seven years old, you should consider purchasing one that is energy-efficient and most appropriately meets your needs.
Want more information about your own home’s energy usage? You can monitor and control your home energy usage through My Account. Also check out our Energy Savings Programs to learn more about conserving energy in your home.