Feb 16, 2022
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Nobody likes to be wasteful. When it comes to energy waste, sometimes knowing is half the battle.
There are many opportunities available to conserve energy and reduce a utility bill that YOU can do today for little to no cost. We like to call this living a conservation "lifestyle". The links below will help get you started by adapting behaviors and habits to be more conscious and conservative with electrical usage. Often times, this means discovering the actual cost of using the electronics and appliances in the home.
Heating is the largest consumer of electricity in electrically heated Mason County homes. Making thoughtful adjustments to thermostats will make a large impact on winter heating bills. For each degree a thermostat is turned down, a customer could see a 2% - 3% reduction in monthly heating bills. That's a significant improvement if there were no previous thermostat adjustments. Also, don't forget to turn down the thermostat and close the door in unused rooms
Each 1500-watt portable space heater, including those that are oil filled, can cost up to $75 to run each month. Electric fireplaces are just another version of portable space heaters and are also high users of electricity. Each heater you plug in bumps up the kilowatt hour usage, causing a shocking bill at the end of the month. Learn more about space heater here.
Be aware of how your heating system is working, especially throughout the winter. if you notice the outdoor unit (fan) never turns on or that your thermostat gives a regular message such as "aux heat" or "emergency heat", get your heat pump serviced by a certified technician as soon as possible. Give your heat pump a check-up every year before the heating season begins. The PUD has more heat pump troubleshooting info here.
Furniture, curtains, or other household items blocking wall/baseboard heaters or register vents, could be blocking the heat they are trying to deliver. Rearrange furniture and curtains to take advantage of heat sources in the home. Vacuum the heater coils (after shutting the heat source off at the breaker) and clean registers often.
Seal your home's drafts. Locating drafts, or openings in your home is easy. There are products such as handheld draft detectors, or you can use an age-old draft detector, a lit candle. Turn off your heater, make sure no windows are open, and walk around slowly looking for disturbances in the flame. This will locate where outside air is entering the home. Once you find these drafts, repair them by replacing weather stripping, using spray foam insulation or caulking.
A home's heating system needs to breathe to run efficiently. Be sure to change the necessary filters regularly to keep the system up and running. Buying filters in multi-packs is a good way to ensure one is on hand when needed. Schedule an annual visit with an HVAC technician to service a home's heating system. This will help ensure equipment will last a long time and will be running efficiently throughout the heating season.
If you have duct work under your home, ensure that it is sealed, insulated, and not leaking precious hot air to the great outdoors. In a manufactured home, the crossover ducts can easily be disconnected or damaged. PUD's duct sealing program may be able to help. Call (360) 426-0777.
Heat loss speeds up when the temperature is colder outside. Insulation slows down heat loss and helps your home stay warmer for longer before your thermostat makes a call to the heating system for more heat. To get the biggest savings, the easiest place to add insulation is usually in the attic. 25% - 35% of a home's heat escapes through the roof. A quick way to see if a home needs more insulation is to look across the uncovered attic floor. If the insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, more insulation is probably needed. PUD 3 may be able to help increase your home's insulation levels. Learn more about insulation incentives here.
Due to COVID, the PUD is not currently conducting "in-home" energy audits however, we can offer virtual audits for customers who are interested and equipped to do so! And the PUD's Energy Efficiency Advisors are still available to help troubleshoot higher than expected consumption over the phone. Additionally, our team can explain how you can access your own data on-line or via the SmarHub app. These are all great ways to determine the highest consumers of electricity in a home, and to see if the household qualifies for incentives on increasing a home's insulation or an energy efficient heating system. Call the PUD 3 conservation department today at (360) 426-0777.
If you’re just getting started, replace the lights that are on the longest with LEDs. Perhaps a hallway light that you leave on at night, an outdoor security light, or a kitchen light. Or, if you have young children who can’t ever seem to remember to turn off their bedroom light when they leave, upgrade their room lights to LED to reduce the impact on your wallet while you teach them not to be wasteful!
An electric water heater can account for up to 25% of a home’s energy bill. The United States Department of Energy recommends setting a residential water heater to 120°F to reduce energy usage and to help prevent scalding. Each 10°F reduction in water temperature can save 3% - 5% on an energy bill. Save energy and help make the home safer by reducing the thermostat setting on residential water heaters.
Use Budget Billing to pay a set amount each month: avoid cold weather bill spikes. The Budget Billing program works by estimating your yearly bill based on your past usage, and then dividing that estimated amount into equal monthly payments over a 12-month period. Your actual energy usage is still calculated each month; however the program helps level out those high winter bills and lower summer bills. Learn more about Budget Billing here.
Are your conservation efforts helping? If so, how much? Look at hourly usage data for your individual account by utilizing the PUD 3 SmartHub phone app or by logging into your account at www.masonpud3.org. Our friendly conservation and customer service staff are standing by ready and willing to help you better understand your usage.
Washing clothes in cold water instead of hot water will save almost 90% of the energy needed to run a normal load of laundry. Cleaning the dryer lint screen before each load will help it to run more efficiently.
Have you heard of "Dryer Balls"? They look like a dog's squeaky toy that you put in the dryer with your clothes. Manufacturers claim that they can save you money by reducing the amount of time your dryer will run when you add a dryer ball to your load of laundry.
Turn off the lights in rooms that are unoccupied.
Many TVs, DVD players, surround sound systems, and other consumer electronics have "Instant-On" features and small clocks. These features are consuming energy all the time. This can be very deceptive because the device looks like it's turned off. Unplug these devices from the wall. This will ensure they are not consuming energy while not in use.
Refrigerators and freezers are running all the time. To ensure they are running efficiently, keep the refrigerator temperature at about 38°F and the freezer at about 0°F. Defrost the freezer when ice buildup is approximately 1/4" thick. Vacuum or brush the cooling coils (in back) at least every six months.
A dishwasher will use the same amount of water whether it's full or not. Save water and the energy needed to heat that water by running the dishwasher only when it's full. Also, consider using the dishwasher's "delay start" feature to reduce the demand on the home's hot water.
Reduce shower time. Shortening a shower by just a few minutes each day can really add up. A customer can save an average of 2.5 gallons of water per minute, not to mention the energy used to heat the water. Showers are a sneaky consumer of electricity because most people forget about the energy needed to heat the water for a warm shower. Install a low-flow showerhead on each shower at home.
Small appliances such as microwaves, toaster ovens, and slow cookers use 50% - 80% less energy than an oven or range. If meal plans allow for it, using these devices will help reduce the energy bill. They will also help keep the home cooler in the summer.
Solar and wind power were around long before we started using them to power out lights! In the summer months, take advantage of the abundant solar energy and hang laundry out to dry. Hopefully they'll smell like a field of cut grass and fresh flowers!
Installing an ENERGY STAR ceiling fan is a good way to keep the air circulating in a home. Be sure to reverse the fan direction in the winter to pull the warm air off the ceiling and disperse it throughout the room. You’d be surprised what a big difference a fan can make. You might even become a fan… of your fan.
Repair leaking and dripping hot water faucet to keep the energy used to heat the water from going down the drain. If a home has a well pump, even a leaky cold water pipe and faucet can waste energy by causing the pump to continuously cycle on and off.
Installing motion sensors and photocell day/night sensors on outdoor lights and timers on indoor lights ensures electricity is being used to keep lights on only when necessary. In some cases, this will reduce energy used by nearly 80%!