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Fall energy saving tips

Published September 8, 2020

You’ve heard this a lot already: it’s going to be a unique fall season. These unusual times are also impacting our energy use and patterns of use. With many people spending much more time at home than what is typical, household energy use is going to increase. The tips below will help you manage what you can and stay comfortable as the weather gets cooler.

  1. Adjust your thermostat. Keep your home as cool as comfortable during days when the heat is on, and as warm as comfortable when you are running air conditioning. When heating your home, the Department of Energy recommends setting the temperature at 68 degrees when you are awake and turning it down by as much as 10 degrees while you are away or asleep. When the AC is on, you might turn the thermostat up to 78 during the day.
  2. Use a programmable or smart thermostat to control when your furnace or air conditioner turns on and off throughout the day.
  3. Service your furnace or boiler to make sure it runs efficiently as the weather starts to cool down. Check with your utility about potential rebates to save money on the tune up.  
  4. Take advantage of the sun. On cool days, open your curtains and blinds throughout the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home.
  5. Check windows and doors for leaks and seal leaks before the cold weather hits.
  6. Cook and bake efficiently. Use lids on pots and pans to reduce cooking time. Bake multiple things at once. Use crockpots and microwaves to save energy.
  7. Keep the fridge and freezers full but not crowded. If your fridge or freezer is empty, fill milk jugs with water to fill up space, and throw out old food if your fridge or freezer is too full.
  8. Inspect and clean your fireplace. Make sure your fireplace is safe before using it. Close fireplace dampers when you are not using the fireplace to prevent heat from escaping.
  9. Redirect ceiling fans. Switch the rotation of your ceiling fan to clockwise, operate at a slow rate, and push warm air down.
  10. Turn off electronics that are not in use.  Electronics that are not being used should be turned off completely to save energy.  Items such as TVs that can be turned on with a remote controller are not fully turned off.  A great idea for TVs, DVD’s and game consoles are to plug them into power strips and turn the power strip off.  Home office areas are also great candidates for this (computers, printers, chargers, etc.).

For a detailed analysis of opportunities to make your home more energy efficient, contact your local utility about getting an energy audit.  With higher than normal energy bills from higher use and the economic impacts of COVID-19, some households are struggling to keep up.  CUB is here to help connect you to resources.  Call us at 651-300-4701 with any questions or concerns.

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Author: Carmen Carruthers

7 Responses to "Fall energy saving tips"

  1. Ellen Lipschultz Posted on September 25, 2020 at 7:27 am

    Center POint energy advised me to turn down the thermostat at night (in the winter) no more than 5 degrees. The reason was that the furnace has to expend too much energy to restore the temperature with more than 5 degrees of change.
    Comment?

  2. Ellen Lipschultz Posted on September 25, 2020 at 7:31 am

    Micro Center, which you might know is a large electronics store, told me they don’t know what smart strips (plug-ins) are. If you could recommend types of places to shop, that would be useful.

  3. Lipschultz, Ellen Posted on September 25, 2020 at 7:32 am

    Another energy saver is pressure cookers.

  4. Ellen Lipschultz Posted on September 25, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Does “office areas being great candidates” mean that desktop computers are not turned off when they are shut ott? That only turning off the power strip truly turns them off?

  5. Sophia Loren Posted on September 25, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Twice I have had to correct my email address in order to send. The website then did not allow me to send the message because the comment was supposedly a duplicate. In this note to you I am using a different emailaddress.

    Does “office areas being great candidates” mean that desktop computers are not turned off when they are shut ott? That only turning off the power strip truly turns them off?

  6. Carmen Carruthers, CUB Outreach Director Posted on September 25, 2020 at 9:28 am

    Thank you for your comment. We recommend up to 10 degrees per the Department of Energy so it doesn’t need to be a full 10 degrees. Here is the website for your reference: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats. The idea is that you will save more energy decreasing it over several hours that the furnace will use to get the temperature back up Ideally you use a programmable thermostat that has the temperature start rising before your wake up. So if you wake up at 6:30, set the thermostat to go back to your preferred daytime setting starting at 5:30. You may need to experiment to see how long it takes to get the home warmed up again. This can vary from home to home. Temperature setting is very much an individual preference related to comfort and convenience so we encourage people to seek the right balance for their household.

  7. Carmen Carruthers, CUB Outreach Director Posted on September 25, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Pressure cookers are also a good way to save energy while cooking. Responding to the questions about office areas, they are good candidates for power strips because so many things are typically plugged in and often in sleep mode where they are still drawing power. This is often referred to as “vampire use”. Examples include computers, printers, phone chargers, extra computer screens, etc. A Smart Power Strip makes it more convenient to reduce energy usage during because the power strip senses when something is in sleep mode and automatically stops the power draw. You can still shut these items off completely manually as well and/or unplug them. Here are two good references for Smart Power Strips: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/save-energy-your-household-smart-power-strip and https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy14osti/60461.pdf We don’t like to recommend specific vendors but if you google smart power strip you will find many places that sell them. They are also sometimes referred to as Advanced Power Strips.

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