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Energywise Ideas For Saving Energy

Weatherization | Cooling | Water heating | Dishes
Laundry | Refrigerators | Ranges | Lighting

Weatherization

 Insulating your house can go a long way toward making your home more energy efficient. Weatherizing is like buttoning up your coat in the winter: It keeps the warm air in and the cold air out.

1. The most important single step in residential energy conservation is the installation of thermal insulation, which is specified by thermal resistance (R-values). R-30 (10 inches) is recommended for ceilings, under roofs or heated spaces; R-19 (51Ú2 inches) for exterior walls and floors over unheated areas.

2. Single-glazed windows. Even windows of high quality and in good repair - should have storm windows. They provide a second layer of glass and a dead-air space between the panes to retain the heat. Plastic storm window kits can also be used.

3. Storm doors help save energy because it reduces the amount of cold air that can rush into your home when you open the exterior door. It also helps keep drafts out when the exterior door is closed.

4. Replace or repair broken window glass, worn weather-stripping and doors that don't fit properly.

5. Add weather stripping and caulking around all doors and windows, including attic entryways, to reduce air leaks. You can also add caulking around baseboards, where walls meet walls, ceiling or floor, and around exterior faucets.

6. Keep exterior doors and windows closed in winter.

7. In winter, the air is normally dry inside your home, especially here in New Mexico. Dry air feels cooler than humid air. A humidifier can help make your home more comfortable with less energy.

8. Cold air leaking into your home from the outside is your heating system's greatest enemy. By finding all the little cracks and gaps where air can leak into your home and filling them with caulking or weather stripping, you can make a big difference in your comfort and in your home's energy efficiency.

9. Some of the worst air leakage areas for the average home are exterior wall outlets (20 percent), the soleplate (25 percent), the duct system (14 percent), exterior windows (12 percent) and fireplaces (5 percent). Make sure all of these areas are properly prepared for winter.

10. Keep the overhead door of an attached garage closed to block wind that can get into your home.

11. Never use an open fireplace to heat your home if you are also using a separate heating system. The fire uses the warm air to fuel the fire, and most of the heat goes up the chimney.

12. In winter, steam from bathing and cooking humidify your home and make it easier to heat. Use exhaust fans sparingly to take advantage of it. Exhaust fans can suck out a house full of air in just minutes.

13. Set your thermostat as low as comfort permits. Each degree over 68 degrees can add up to 3 percent to the amount of energy needed to heat your home.

14. Make sure that your thermostat is not exposed to direct sunlight or other direct heat sources. If the thermostat is warm, it won't turn on your heating system when it should.

15. Install a programmable thermostat. You can set it and forget it so the heating system automatically turns down at night and when you are away from home.

16. When entertaining a large group, lower the thermostat a degree or two before your guests arrive. They naturally generate heat.

17. Have your heating system checked by a professional at the beginning of the heating season. That will help make sure it's operating as efficiently as possible.

18. Close heating and return air vents unused rooms that don't have a thermostat. Keep doors to unused rooms closed.

19. Make sure that vents for air flow are not blocked by drapes or furniture.

Cooling

 20. If you install a window refrigerated air-conditioning unit, place it on the shady side of your home. If it's located in direct sunlight, it'll have to work harder and use more energy.

21. Set your cooling thermostat as high as comfort permits. The higher the setting, the more energy you'll save.

22. Close cooling vents and turn off window refrigerated air-conditioners in unused rooms. Keep doors to unused rooms closed.

23. With evaporative (swamp) cooling, crack open windows in rooms where you want cool air to flow. Conversely, close off areas of the house not in use.

24. Use the low speed setting on your evaporative cooler whenever possible; it uses significantly less energy.

25. When building a new home or refurbishing an old one, choose light-colored roof shingles to reflect more of the sun's heat.

26. Open windows during the pleasant days of spring and let the outside air cool your home instead of using your cooler or air conditioner.

27. Draw blinds, shades or drapes to block the sun during the hottest part of the day.

28. Install awnings over windows that are exposed to direct sunlight. Deciduous trees planted in appropriate locations help to shade the house in summer.

29. Don't put appliances that generate heat, like lamps and TV sets, under your wall-mounted cooling thermostat. The heat rising from them can cause the thermostat to read a temperature that's higher than the actual room temperature and lead to overcooling the whole house.

Water heating

 30. Make sure your water heater is properly maintained. Drain a bucket of water from the tank once or twice a year to get rid of sediment that can interfere with heating.

31. If your water heater is several years old, install a water heater insulation blanket, especially in unheated areas, such as the garage. Do not install a blanket on new water heaters ¿ it may cause problems and void the warranty. Check your water heater information or check with a plumber.

32. Repair leaky faucets. A steady drip of hot water can waste many gallons of water a month along with all the energy it took to heat it.

33. Letting the water run while you're shaving or doing the dishes by hand can waste a lot of hot water. Turn off the water whenever you can.

34. Conserve water by encouraging your family to take showers rather than baths. Showers use about half as much hot water. Installing flow restriction devices/aerators on all faucets will reduce water use. In addition, a two-liter soda bottle filled with water and capped tightly can be placed in the toilet tank to conserve water if it is a older larger tank.

Dishes

 35. Use the air-dry feature on your dishwasher to save money. Use the shorter wash cycle and see if that gets your dishes clean.

36. Washing and rinsing dishes by hand uses more energy than one dishwasher cycle.  

37. Run your dishwasher only when it is full.

38. When loading, make sure you don't block the soap dispenser and spray arms.

Laundry

 39. Use the shortest wash cycle and use cold water. Cold water washing prevents fading and helps keep permanent press clothes from wrinkling.

40. Only run the washer with full loads, but don't overload it. An overloaded washer has to work harder and uses more energy.

41. Presoak or treat particularly dirty items to minimize wash time.

42. Dry your laundry one load right after another to take advantage of leftover heat in the dryer.

43. Take clothes out of the dryer as soon as the dryer stops. That doesn't give wrinkles time to set and reduces the amount of time and energy spent ironing.

44. Clean dryer lint vents before every load for maximum efficiency.

45. Try not to run an electric dryer without a full load inside, but don't overload it or you'll get excessive wrinkling.

46. Dry fabrics of similar weight together.

47. Don't overly dry clothes. It wastes energy, causes wrinkling and can shrink your clothes.

48. Make sure your dryer is well-vented to the outside.

49. Make sure your dryer does not accumulate moisture by monitoring the moisture-sensing control.

50. Iron low-temperature fabrics first to reduce warm-up time and shut off the iron before finishing to take advantage of leftover heat.

51. Iron your clothes in large batches and turn off the iron if you're interrupted.

Refrigerators

 52. Keep your refrigerator temperature set between 36 and 40 degrees and your freezer set at 0 degrees for most efficient operation. You can check the temperature with an outdoor thermometer.

53. If your freezer is not frost free, letting frost build up more than one-quarter inch hampers your freezer's efficiency.

54. Clean condenser coils (located on the back or bottom of your refrigerator) every three months with a vacuum cleaner to allow for maximum heat transfer and to keep the condenser from overworking.

55. Each time you open the door, cool air escapes. Don't leave the door open while making selection decisions and take out or replace as many items at one time as possible.

56. Don't put uncovered liquids in your refrigerator. Not only can they absorb undesirable flavors, they give off vapors that add to the compressor's work load.

57. Let hot dishes cool a little before putting them in the refrigerator.

58. Your refrigerator works best when it's full, so put containers of water to help when it is not full.

59. Leave a little space between items for proper air circulation.

60. Check door gaskets by placing a piece of paper in the door. If it pulls out easily when the door is closed, replace your gaskets.

61. Chest freezers are more efficient than upright models because they lose less cold air when you open them.

62. Locate your refrigerator away from your stove and other heat-producing appliances.

63. If possible, remove perishable items and turn your refrigerator to a slightly warmer setting if you're going to be gone for an extended period.

64. Choose a refrigerator that's just large enough for your family's needs. The larger the refrigerator, the more energy it uses.

65. When buying a new refrigerator, look for an Energy Star model that uses less energy than others. 

Ranges

 66. Match the size of the pan you're using to the heating element on your range to avoid wasting energy.

67. It's not necessary to preheat the oven before you broil something. Preheating is also unnecessary for many types of baking. A good rule of thumb is that any food that takes more than a full hour to bake can be placed in a cold oven.

68. Measure the water you need for cooking carefully to avoid heating up more than you need. A lot of energy can be wasted heating up too much water when you put the kettle on.

69. Foods cooked in pots and pans with tight-fitting lids cook faster, using less energy.

70. You can save energy by planning ahead when cooking frozen foods. Take frozen foods out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator two days ahead of time. They'll help cool the refrigerator as they thaw. Once they're thawed, take them out of the refrigerator and let them warm to room temperature before cooking.

71. It's cheaper to cook a whole meal in the oven than to use several range-top elements because the oven is well-insulated.

72. Keep the reflector pans under your range-top heating elements bright and clean. That way they'll reflect heat onto the bottoms of your pots and pans better.

73. Don't line your oven with aluminum foil. It can reduce your oven's efficiency by interfering with heat circulation and it also can fuse to the heating element, further reducing oven efficiency.

74. Consider using small appliances like toaster ovens and electric frying pans when cooking a small amount of food. On average, they use about one-third the energy it takes to heat your oven.

75. Pressure cookers can cut cooking times by as much as one-third.

76. If you're looking, you're not cooking! Each time you open the door of your oven, the temperature drops 50 to 100 degrees.

77. Rearrange oven shelves before you turn the oven on. Doing it after the oven is hot not only wastes heat, but is an easy way to burn yourself.

78. Prepare baked goods in large batches.

79. Using a microwave oven can mean an energy savings of 50 to 75 percent for some foods.

80. When you clean your self-cleaning oven, do it after baking or broiling a meal to make use of leftover heat.

81. Several dishes within a 25-degree range in baking temperature can be baked together without significantly affecting how they turn out.

82. Don't use your oven to heat the kitchen. Not only is it expensive and inefficient, it's dangerous.

83. For most foods cooked longer than 45 minutes, you can turn off the oven for the last 10 minutes. The oven will retain the heat as long as you don't open the door.

84. Lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees when using ceramic, glass or stainless steel dishes. These materials hold the heat better, so you don't have to use as much energy when cooking with them.

Lighting

85.The average PNM residential customer can save approximately $6 per month by installing energy efficient lighting throughout the home.

86. Take advantage of the PNM discount on LEDs through our Home Lighting Discount Program.

87. A room decorated in light colors requires less lighting than one decorated in dark colors because lighter colors reflect more light.

88. Choose lampshades that let as much light out as possible.

89. When buying light bulbs, remember that the wattage rating only tells you how much energy it takes for the bulb to work. The amount of brightness is measured in lumens, so you should compare lumen ratings and buy the maximum light for your dollar.

90. Fluorescent lights give off more lumens per watt than incandescent bulbs and they last 10 to 15 times as long. One 4-foot fluorescent tube provides more light than three 60-watt bulbs.

91. Put lamps in corners instead of against a flat wall whenever possible. That way the light will be reflected by two walls instead of just one.

92. Install photoelectric controls or timers on outside lights to make sure they're turned off during the day.

93. Don't leave lights on when you're not using them, especially in the summer. Not only is it a waste of energy, but light bulbs emit heat, which can make your air conditioner or cooler work harder. About 15 percent of the average residential customer electricity bill is used in lighting.

A few more for good measure

94. Heating and cooling appliances should not be placed next to one another. Each makes the other work harder.

95. Many blow dryers draw as much power as an electric toaster and are used for longer periods of time. Try towel drying as an energy-saving alternative. In any case, avoid overly drying hair. Not only does it waste energy, it can damage your hair.

96. Many people with swimming pools tend to use their filtering system longer than necessary. Check the water more frequently and run the filter just long enough to maintain clarity.

97. Make sure the television is off if nobody is watching it.