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Helpful Household Energy Saving Tips




 

Refrigerators/Freezers

  • Place refrigerators and freezers away from sources of heat such as stoves, clothes dryers, dishwashers, heating systems, and direct sunlight.
  • Replace door gaskets when they become hard or out of shape.
  • A tight seal will minimize air leakage. Vacuum or dust external coils at least once a year.
  • Defrost freezers before the ice becomes 1/4 inch thick.
  • Fill refrigerators and freezers to capacity, but avoid blocking air circulation.
  • Allow hot food to cool before placing in the refrigerator.
 

Washers/Dryers

  • Use hot water only for heavily soiled or greasy clothes and for sanitation purposes.
  • Wash only full loads or match the water level to the load size.
  • Use cold water in the rinse cycle. Dry full loads of clothes.
  • Avoid over-drying clothes.
  • Vent dryers to the outside to avoid moisture build-up inside the home.
  • Dryers operate less efficiently when they use moist air to dry clothes.
  • Make sure exterior dryer vents close tightly when not in use.
  • Keep lint filters and exterior dryer vents clean.
 

Dishwashers

  • Pre-rinse only when necessary and then use only cold water.
  • Operate the dishwasher only for full loads.
  • When time allows, air dry the dishes.
  • When washing the dishes by hand, avoid running the water continuously to rinse dishes.
 

Ranges/Ovens

  • Use cookware with smooth, flat bottoms and tight-fitting lids.
  • Use range-top elements that match the size of the pan you are using. This allows for more efficient transfer of heat.
  • Cook foods in covered cookware to retain heat. This will enable you to cook at lower temperatures.
  • Turn elements off a few minutes early and allow retained heat to continue cooking the food.
  • Preheat the oven only when necessary, generally for bread and pastries.
  • Meat does not require a preheated oven.
  • Thaw frozen meats and casseroles in the refrigerator before cooking. This can reduce cooking time by as much as 50%.
  • Rely on the oven thermostat and recipe time when baking or roasting food. Opening the oven door can lose up to 20% of the heat.
  • In many cases, microwave ovens use less electricity than conventional ovens, because they cook faster at lower wattage. The microwave oven is more efficient when used to cook small to medium amounts of moderately moist food.
  • Never use an oven as a heater. It is inefficient, expensive, and dangerous for your family.
 

Lighting Energy-Saving Tips

Lighting efficiency is expressed in lumens per watt, which is the amount of light produced from each watt of electrical power consumed. Replacing a bulb with one that produces more lumens per watt can provide you with the same amount of light for less money.

While efficient light sources may cost more initially, the cost is soon paid back in longer life and lower operating costs.

For example, a 75-watt incandescent bulb which lasts 1,000 hours can be replaced by an 18-watt LED bulb which lasts 25,000 hours. You will save 57 watts of electricity every hour the light is on. In 18 hours, you save 1,000 watts. In one year, you save 125 kWh (more than $21.00) when the bulb is used six hours a day.

  • Keep light fixtures clean and use translucent lamp shades with white linings for greater efficiency.
  • Select the right wattage bulb for the lighting task.
  • Consider using fluorescent, compact fluorescent or LED lights. Fluorescent lighting produces three to four times more light per watt than incandescent lighting and usually lasts 10 times longer. LED lights produce even more light per watt and can last 25 times longer.
  • Install dimmer switches to control lighting levels and energy use.
  • Use low wattage light bulbs in areas where minimum lighting is needed.
  • Turn off lights when they are not in use.
  • Consider installing timers, photoelectric cells, or occupancy sensors to operate outdoor and indoor lights.
 

Heating/Cooling

When buying new space heating or cooling equipment, check the efficiency rating. Heating efficiency is expressed as Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. Cooling efficiency is expressed as the Energy Efficiency Ratio or the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. In all cases, the higher the rating, the greater the system's efficiency.

  • Use properly sized heating and cooling equipment. Oversized equipment reduces operating efficiency.
  • Seal up your home. Install adequate amounts of insulation in the walls and attic. Weather-strip and insulate the attic entrance.
  • To prevent heat from escaping from the chimney, close dampers on unused fireplaces and install fireplace draft barriers.
  • Set thermostats conservatively. Lowering the thermostat setting in winter and raising it in summer reduces heating and cooling costs by as much as 3% per degree.
  • Ventilate your attic. This contributes to the cooling of your home.
  • During cold weather, open the drapes to let in the sun's heat. Close them at night.
  • During hot weather, close the drapes to keep out the sun's heat.
  • Arrange furniture and drapes so that air circulation will not be obstructed around heating and cooling sources.
  • Emera Maine’s Electric Heat Rate greatly reduces the cost of heating electrically if your home qualifies — that is, if 50% or more can be heated by electric heat pump, electric thermal storage, or an electric resistance heating system. The Transmission and Distribution rate drops by almost 6 cents per kWh after you have used 600 or 700 kWh per billing period (the threshold requirement, depending on whether you are a Bangor Hydro District or Maine Public Service District customer). To find out more about heat pumps, please visit Heat Pumps.
 

Water Heater Improvements and Tips

The following improvements will save on electric water heating costs.

  • If indicated in the owner's manual, insulate your water heater with a vinyl-backed insulating water heater blanket. Water heaters should be insulated to a minimum R-value of R-10.
  • Set the thermostats at the same setting, usually 120 degrees. If you have a dishwasher, check the owner's manual for the recommended settings.
  • Insulating hot water pipes wherever they are accessible will reduce heat loss and save energy cost.
  • Install water-saving showerheads and faucet aerators.
  • Install thermal traps where water pipes enter the water heater. Traps prevent heat escaping the pipes.
  • Take a shower instead of a bath. The average person uses about half as much hot water in a shower as in a bath.
  • While you are on vacation for two days or more, a water heater utilizes energy keeping stored water hot. If you are going to be away for two days or more, it pays to turn off the water heater.
  • Select a water heater with insulation R-value levels of R-10 or greater.
  • Locate water heaters within the heated living space and as close as possible to areas needing hot water to minimize heat loss and save energy cost.

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Emera Maine provides electric delivery service to two areas – the Bangor Hydro District and the Maine Public District.

  • The Bangor Hydro District includes Hancock, Piscataquis and Washington Counties and most of Penobscot County.
  • The Maine Public District serves Aroostook County and a small piece of Penobscot County.

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