Turn Down Your Thermostat. It’s one of the most effective ways to cut your energy usage. You can save as much as 3% for each degree that you turn your thermostat down during the winter. Remember if takes electricity for your furnace to run, so if your furnace runs less you will save on your electricity usage too. If you can be comfortable with, and your health permits, a slightly cooler home, lower the thermostat by a couple of degrees and save even more. Don’t forget to turn down your thermostat when you are not home and at night when you go to bed.
Take Care of Your Furnace. Have your heating system inspected and serviced annually for more efficient operation. Check your duct work. Dust, lint and other debris can block air vents and reduce the efficiency of your furnace, so be sure to keep ducts and grills clean. Also take time to insulate ductwork that runs through unheated areas like basements or crawl spaces.
Keep the Cold Out. Close your blinds or drapes when it gets dark outside to help cut heat loss through your windows at night. If your blinds or drapes don’t completely cover your windows, consider putting up plastic sheeting for insulation day and night.
Turn Down the Tank. You can reduce your energy consumption by turning your hot water tank down to 120 degrees. For every 10 degree reduction in temperature, you can save between 3% and 5% on your water heating costs. Insulating your hot water pipes and installing a water heater insulation blanket on your tank will also help reduce your energy consumption and save you money.
Cook Smart. A microwave uses half the energy of a conventional oven. If you do use a conventional oven, don’t pre-heat the oven any longer than necessary. Pre-heat food in the microwave and then finish cooking in a conventional oven.
Think Before You Wash and Dry Clothes. Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and use the cold water setting on your washer. If you have to wash a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
Consider using a clothes rack or indoor clothes line to dry clothes. If you do use your dryer, be sure to clean the lint screen in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation for more efficient clothes drying and to prevent fire hazards.
Reduce Phantom Load. Make sure appliances like your computer and television are really off when you turn them off. Plug your computer and television into power strips, and turn off the power strip before you go to bed at night and save electricity and money.
Over the long term, energy efficiency improvements to your home can reduce your electricity usage and save you money. Your electric utility offers a number of programs that can help you make your home or business more energy efficient. For more information, visit www.nhsaves.com or contact your electric utility directly.