ENERGY EFFICIENCY RESOURCES
Many people want to save energy and money at home. They want to reduce the amount of electricity they use and they want to lower their energy bills. Often they don't know how.
Since our inception more than 70 years ago, GCEA has been helping members learn how to use electricity efficiently. Now, through the internet, we are able to share energy efficiency information with a broader audience.
Electric cooperatives have joined together under the Touchstone Energy banner to offer an animated tour of a typical home with information on what can be altered, added to or updated to cut energy use and cost.
There are also videos to actually demonstrate how to improve a home. For example, this video explains how to caulk a home to more it more air tight and better prepared for the coming cold weather.
What Is A Phantom Load?
Many of the electronics in your home use electricity even when they are turned off or are in sleep mode. This draw of power is called a phantom load. Most computers, laptops, cable boxes, printers, televisions, and other items that can be turned on by remote control use energy even when you are not actively using the item.
Cable boxes and DVRs tend to be the biggest offenders - they often use the same amount of energy whether they are in operation or not. Some DVRs use 55 watts all the time, which can add up to 40 kWh to your electric bill per month. Most cable boxes use 33 about watts, which can add 24 kWh per month to your electric bill. Phantom loads used by some common electronics are indicated by the highlighted cells in the table above.
What Can I Do to Eliminate Phantom Loads?
The easiest way to avoid a phantom load is to connect the electronic to a power strip and turn off the power strip when you are not using the equipment. If you connect your television, cable box, and/or DVR to one power strip, you can eliminate all phantom loads with one switch. If you have alarm clocks in your guest bedrooms, you can unplug them until company is in town. Or you could invest in a battery powered alarm clock for your guest room and eliminate the use of electricity completely. GCEA is here to help. If you are having trouble identifying a phantom load, give us a call at 970-641-3520.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY TIPS
You can save energy by following these simple tips. Many of the suggestions don't require special tools and won't cost you a penny. But they will save you money if you follow them on a daily basis.
- Lower the Thermostat. When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as you can and still be comfortable. But turn the thermostat down 5-10 degrees when you go to work during the day or go to sleep at night.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat. This device allows you to program your heating and cooling system to adjust automatically to save energy. Watch this video to see how.
- Maintain Your Heating System. Have your system serviced once a year by a professional to make sure it is operating efficiently. Replace furnace filters once a month or as needed during winter months. Clean the flue vent regularly in your wood- and pellet-burning heaters. How to video.
- Reduce Heat Loss from your Fireplace. Keep your damper closed when you don't have a fire going.
- Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun. Open the curtains or blinds on your south-facing windows during the day to allow the sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.
- Cover Drafty Windows. Cover your windows and frame with heavy-duty, clear plastic. The plastic window film that you can purchase at the hardware store shrinks to a clear finish so you still have a view, but it keeps the drafts out. How to video.
- Seal Air Leaks. Caulk around your windows, doors, and any place where two different building materials meet.
- Turn the Water Heater Down. Set your water heater at 120°F.
- Turn Off the Water While Shaving and Brushing Teeth.
- Use Cold Water to Wash and Rinse Clothes. Learn how to save money while doing laundry by watching this video.
- Wash Full Loads.
- Drain Your Water Heater. Drain some water from the water heater regularly to remove sediment.
- Clean the Refrigerator Coils. Once or twice a year, vacuum the coils behind and under your refrigerator. How to video for more tips.
- Use the Right Size Pot/Pan on the Stove Burner. Don't put a small pot on a large burner.
- Cover Pots/Pans When Cooking. Using a cover helps reach higher temperatures quicker.
- Replace Light Bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. CFL bulbs are most effective in high use areas where the lights are on for longer periods of time.
- Turn Off Lights When You Leave the Room.
- Use a Power Strip for electronics and turn the power strip off when the electronics are not in use to avoid phantom loads.