Lower Your Utility and Heating Bills with Energy and Conservation Tips
We’re constantly on the lookout to help you stretch your budget by cutting back on unnecessary energy use. Many of these conservation tips will cost you nothing – or very little – to implement, and can make a big difference to your wallet, your Central New Jersey community, and the environment.
Year-Round Conservation Tips
- Use compact fluorescent lights or LED bulbs. They last up to 10 - 13 times longer than standard bulbs and use 75 percent less energy.
- Install dimmer switches. In addition to enhancing the mood, they'll extend the life of your bulbs and help you save up to 60 percent on your lighting costs.
- Lower the temperature of your water heater from 140° to 120°. You'll save 3 percent - 5 percent in water heating costs for each 10° reduction. Or consider a timer to turn your water heater off when not in use.
- Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer.
- Don't leave the fridge door open! Every time you do, up to 30 percent of the air inside can escape. The same can be said for your oven.
- Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water; it's faster and it uses less energy.
- Air-dry dishes. Also, avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features on your dishwasher.
- Choose a high-efficiency clothes washer and dryer. High-efficiency washers use half the water of standard models. High-efficiency dryers can save up to 30 percent in energy over standard models.
- Defrost food before cooking - you could save 30 percent to 50 percent on cooking costs. And pre-heat your oven only for baking.
- Install water-conserving fixtures, such as showerheads, faucets and toilets.
- Fix leaky faucets, especially hot water faucets. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons per month - more than a person uses in two weeks.
- Install a programmable thermostat. When properly used, it could save as much as $100 or more off your annual heating bills.
- Consider upgrading to high-efficiency, ENERGY STAR® equipment. If your home heating or air conditioning equipment is more than 15-20 years old, speak to a Valley Oil about upgrading to a high-efficiency unit. We may be able to find incentives including tax credits, rebates and/or low or no interest financing to help lower the cost of the new equipment, and with energy savings as high as 40 percent, your new system can virtually pay for itself.
Conservation Tips for Cold Weather
- Sunshine! Windows on the south side of the house get the most sunlight. Eastern windows get sunlight in the morning. West facing windows receive sunlight in the afternoon. Open shades and drapes during the daytime to let the sun's warmth enter your home, and close when the sun goes down.
- Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors when not in use.
- Remove air conditioning window units, or cover them well.
- Keep radiators free of dust for top efficiency.
- Turn the thermostat down. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save as much as 10 percent a year on their heating and cooling bills by simply turning the thermostat back by 10 to 15 degrees. Install a smart or programmable thermostat to make the savings automatic.
- Wrap your pipes, to guard against heat loss and prevent them from freezing.
- Avoid using space heaters. They're expensive to operate, and can be dangerous, too.
- Check your threshold for any gaps between it and the door. Use a bottom seal that can be attached to the bottom of the door -- it should brush up against the floor to seal up the threshold. It virtually stops drafts.
- Get a heating system tune-up - it'll ensure you get maximum performance from every drop of heating oil burned. Maintaining your heating system with regular tune-ups from Valley Oil could reduce energy costs by up to 10 percent.
- Make sure you have good insulation on exterior walls, ceilings with cold spaces above, and floors with cold spaces below.
- Change the windows. Consider new low-emissivity glass (often marketed as “low-e glass), which will decrease radiant heat loss without lowering visibility.
- Upgrade your oil burner - a modern burner can cut costs by 15 percent.
Conservation Tips for Warm Weather
- Keep drapes, blinds and shades closed during the day to block out the sun.
- Move furniture away from air conditioning vents.
- Plant shade trees due west of west windows. It could reduce your air conditioning bills by up to 25 percent!
- Cook on the grill to keep cooking heat outside the home.
- When cooking inside, use a microwave instead of a conventional oven. It uses less than half the power and cooks food in about one-fourth the time.
- Install reflective window coatings to reflect heat away from your home.
- Use ceiling fans to cool your home - they're much cheaper to operate than air conditioners, and moving air feels cooler, so you can keep your thermostat setting higher.
- Open windows on cool summer days and nights. A good rule of thumb is not to open windows when the outside temperature is warmer than the inside of your house.
- Change or clean your air conditioning filter monthly during cooling season to improve efficiency and the life of your air conditioner.
- Whenever possible, hang your laundry outdoors to dry.
- Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun.
- Keep the coils of your central or window air conditioner free of dust and dirt.
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