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ThermWise® Energy-Saving Tips


Energy-smart consumers buy natural gas appliances. And the best way to get the most out of every energy dollar is to have a qualified professional periodically make sure your appliances work at peak performance. Saving energy means saving money. Here are some tips that will help you do both:

FURNACE TIPS The single largest user of natural gas in the home is the furnace. A well-maintained furnace will work more efficiently and last longer. And when it's time to buy a new furnace, an expert can advise you on the best solution for your home-heating needs.

  • Choose an ENERGY STAR furnace – If it's time to replace your existing furnace, consider buying a furnace that's earned the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR furnaces have an annual fuel efficiency rating (AFUE) of 90% or higher, making them up to 15% more energy efficient than standard models.
  • Professional tune-up – A periodic furnace inspection by a heating professional will ensure safe, efficient operation. Change the filter – changing the furnace filter regularly will help keep clean air flowing throughout your home. If the filter becomes dirty or clogged, it will restrict airflow and cause the furnace to stay on longer – using more fuel. Note: If you have a central air conditioner, your filter may need to be changed more frequently because it's working during the summer too.
  • Keep vents and registers unobstructed – Move drapes, rugs and furniture away from heat registers and return-air vents. Free-flowing air through the furnace provides quick comfort for less money.
  • Install a programmable thermostat – You won't have to remember to turn the furnace down when you go to sleep or leave for work. Consistent temperature control will help reduce your fuel usage and lower your energy costs.


WATER HEATER TIPS – This is the second-largest energy user in the home. Even though natural gas water heating is economical, there are ways to stretch your energy dollar.

  • Lower the temperature – Reduce the temperature setting on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or turn the dial from high to medium. Turn the dial to low if you are going to be gone for a few days or more.
  • Reduce hot water usage – Take showers instead of baths to reduce hot water use. Fix leaky faucets and run clothes- and dishwashers with a full load. Install water-flow restrictors in shower heads and faucets. Restrictors can cut hot-water use without affecting comfort.
  • Insulate the water heater and hot-water pipes – Install a water-heater blanket and hot-water-pipe insulation. Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
  • Choose an energy efficient water heater – When replacing a water heater, the best way to assure performance is to purchase a model with a high energy factor (EF) rating. The higher the EF, the better. Natural gas water heaters with an EF rating of 0.63 qualify for ThermWise Appliance Rebates.


CLOTHES DRYER TIPS – Dry clothes faster and for less money with natural gas. These natural gas dryer tips can help save you money and leave "nothing out to dry."

  • Choose a dryer with a moisture sensor – Many new clothes dryers have moisture sensors available. When your clothes are dry, the dryer shuts off, which will save you money.
  • Dry full loads – You'll use less energy per clothing item. And when one load is done, follow up with another load to benefit from the residual heat.
  • Clean the lint screen between each load – A clean screen allows for quick drying cycle.


GENERAL TIPS – There are a number of ways to cut your energy costs by making your home more energy efficient.

  • Choose products that have earned the ENERGY STAR label. Products in more than 50 categories are eligible for the ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR is the trusted national symbol for energy efficiency, backed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. ENERGY STAR products use less energy, save money and help protect the environment.
  • Windows are a major source of heat loss. Consider installing storm or thermal windows. ENERGY STAR windows save you energy and money, increase the comfort of your home and protect your valuable possessions from sun damage. A less expensive alternative is plastic sheeting, which can be fastened over windows to retain heat.
  • Set the thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees during the winter, and 58 degrees when away from the house for more than a few hours. Before sleeping, lower the thermostat and add an extra blanket for warmth. Bear in mind that warmer temperatures are recommended for homes with ill or elderly people or infants.
  • Keep heat registers and air-return vents unobstructed. Your furnace must be able to circulate air freely to work efficiently. Arrange your furniture with heating economy in mind.
  • Heat rises so use registers to direct warm air–flow across the floor. Ceiling fans can also help circulate warm air into the living area.
  • Use drapes, shutters, awnings, shade trees, glass with reflective film and/or solar screens to keep your house cooler in the summer. Let sunlight in during the winter to help warm your house.
  • When buying new appliances, compare energy-efficiency ratings and annual operating costs. A slightly higher initial cost for a high-efficiency appliance could be paid back quickly through energy savings and lower utility bills.
  • Eliminate air leaks in your home with caulking, sealants or weather stripping. Look for leaks around windows, doors, plumbing, ducts, and electrical outlets.
  • Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close dampers on unused fireplaces.
  • Check to see if the attic and walls have the recommended levels of insulation.


OTHER RESOURCES
Improve your homes energy efficiency with ENERGY STAR
Consumer Energy Savers Tips
Weatherization Assistance Program
Energy efficient housing and "green mortgages"
National Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency - DSIREUSA.org

 

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