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October is National Energy Awareness Month

Here are some easy low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy.
Visit for more energy-saving ideas.

    Cooling Tips

    Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible in the summer, and ensure humidity control if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.

    More Cooling Tips...
    • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
    • Consider using an interior fan along with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air through your home without greatly increasing your
    • Avoid placing appliances that give off heat such as lamps or TVs near a thermostat.

      Dishwasher Water-Saving Tips,

      Be sure your dishwasher is full (not overloaded) when you run it.

      More Dishwasher Water-Saving Tips...
      • Check the manual that came with your dishwasher for the manufac¨turerís recommendations on water temperature; many have internal heating elements that allow you to set the water heater in your home to a lower temperature (120°F).
      • Scrape, donít rinse, off large food pieces and bones. Soaking or pre¨washing is generally only recom¨mended in cases of burned- or dried-on food.
      • Avoid using the ìrinse holdî on your machine for just a few soiled dishes. It uses 3-7 gallons of hot water each use.
      • Let your dishes air dry; if you donít have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster.

        Refrigerator-Freezer Energy Tips

        Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37°-40°F for the fresh food compartment and 5°F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F.

        More Refrigerator-Freezer Energy Tips...
        • Check the refrigerator temperature by placing an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator. Read it after 24 hours. Check the freezer tempera-ture by placing a thermometer between frozen packages. Read it after 24 hours.
        • Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you may consider buying a new unit.
        • Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
        • Regularly defrost manual-defrost freezers and refrigerators; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit. Donít allow frost to build up more than one-quarter of an inch.

          Other Energy-Saving Kitchen Tips

          Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy..

          More Energy-Saving Kitchen Tips...
          • Place the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water; placing the lever in the hot position draws hot water even though it may never reach the faucet.
          • Look for a natural gas oven or range with an automatic, electric ignition system, which saves gas since a pilot light is not burning continuously.
          • Look for blue flames in natural gas appliances; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently and an adjustment may be needed. If you see yellow flames, consult the manufacturer or your local utility.
          • Keep range-top burners and reflec¨tors clean; they will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy.
          • Use a covered kettle or pan or electric kettle to boil water; it's faster and uses less energy.
          • Match the size of the pan to the heating element.
          • Use small electric pans, toaster ovens, or convection ovens for small meals rather than your large stove or oven. A toaster or convection oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
          • Use pressure cookers and microwave ovens whenever it is convenient to do so. They will save energy by significantly reducing cooking time.

            Laundry Tips

            There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes-use less water and use cooler water. Unless youíre dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half.

            More Laundry Tips...
            • Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.
            • Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
            • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.

            • Don't over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
            • Clean the lint screen in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation and prevent fire hazards.
            • Periodically, use the long nozzle tip on your vacuum cleaner to remove the lint that collects below the lint screen in the lint screen slot of your clothes dryer.
            • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the heat remaining in the dryer.
            • Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material-not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
            • Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.

              Home Electronics Tips

              Unplug appliances, or use a power strip and use the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance, to avoid "vampire" loads. Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These vampire loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as DVD players, TVs, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.

              More Home Electronics Tips...
              • Look for energy-saving ENERGY STAR home electronics.
              • Use rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and digital cameras. Studies have shown they are more cost effective than disposable batteries. If you must use disposables, check with your trash removal company about safe disposal options.

                Transportation Tips

                Transportation accounts for 72% of U.S. oil use, mostly for gas.6 Luckily, there are plenty of ways to improve your gas mileage or avoid using gas altogether. Avoid idling. Think about it-idling gets you 0 miles per gallon. The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it. No more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days is needed. Anything more simply wastes fuel and increases emissions.

                More Driving Tips...
                • Avoid aggressive driving, such as speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking, which can lower your highway gas mileage by up to 33% and your city mileage by 5%.
                • Avoid high speeds. Above 60 mph, gas mileage drops rapidly. For every 5 mph above 60 mph, itís like paying an additional $0.30 per gallon of gasoline.
                • Avoid keeping heavy items in your car; an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could increase your gas costs by up to $.08 cents per gallon.
                • Reduce drag by placing items inside the car or trunk rather than on roof racks, which can decrease your fuel economy by 5% or more.
                • Combine errands. Several short trips, each one taken from a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
                • Check into telecommuting, carpooling, and public transit to save driving and car maintenance costs. Many urban areas provide carpool lanes that are usually less congested, which means you will get to work and home faster and more refreshed!

                * All cost estimates assume an average price of $3.96 per gallon. Source:

                  Car Maintenance Tips

                  Inflate your tires to the pressure listed in your owner's manual or on a sticker in the glove box or driver's side door jamb. This number may differ from the maximum pressure listed on your tire's sidewall.

                  More Home Electroniv Tips...
                  • Use the grade of motor oil your car's manufacturer recommends. Using a different motor oil can lower your gas mileage by 1%-2%.
                  • Get regular maintenance checks to avoid fuel economy problems due to worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, sagging belts, low transmission fluid, or transmission problems.
                  • Don't ignore the check-engine light, it can alert you to problems that affect fuel economy as well as more serious problems, even when your vehicle seems to be running fine.
                  • Replace clogged air filters on an older car with a carbureted engine to improve gas mileage by as much as 10% and to protect your engine.

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