Managing Your Energy Use

Most people want to make the best decisions for the environment, but, when it comes to conserving energy, the most important goal for most of us is to save money. Too often, home owners with central heat and air think their options for reducing their energy bill is limited to turning down the thermostat and being less comfortable. The key to energy efficiency is to reduce the amount of energy you use without sacrificing comfort. To do this, you need to look past the installation and maintenance of your heating and cooling system, and look at all the areas of your home that could impact how much energy you use.

Water Heater – For every person in your home, you require an average of 175 gallons of hot water each week. There are two ways to save on energy used to heat water: reduce the amount you use, and use less energy to heat what you do use.

  • Install a low-flow shower head that uses less water.
  • Turn down the temperature on the water heater to 120°.
  • Keep the water heater and all plumbing in good condition to prevent costly leaks.
  • Provide appropriate insulation around the water heater.
  • Reserve the use of your hot water for those times when it is needed. If cold will work, go with it first.

Laundry – Most of us know how easy it is to fall behind with this household chore. That's because most of us do a lot of laundry on a regular basis. There are some ways that you can reduce the amount of energy you use with these large capacity appliances through the washing and drying phase.

  • Use cold water except for those loads that are most challenging.
  • Use the appropriate load setting for the volume of clothes you will wash. Setting it too large not only wastes water, but energy, as well.
  • Don't launder incomplete loads in the washer or dryer. Throwing your favorite shirt in by itself will take a lot more energy and water to wash than is needed for one garment, even on the lowest load setting.
  • Keep the lint trap clean on the dryer so that it doesn't have to work harder.
  • Monitor drying to prevent over-drying your clothes and using more energy than necessary.

Refrigerator – The refrigerator uses a great deal of energy to maintain food temperatures around the clock. It is also an appliance that we take advantage of without realizing that we are using more energy than necessary.

  • Limit browsing with the door open. Every time you let cold air out, the refrigerator must work harder to lower the temperature again.
  • Cool foods before placing them in the refrigerator, to prevent them from heating up the interior.
  • Make sure the refrigerator is a minimum of two inches away from the wall so that the condenser coils can do their job efficiently and remove heat from the unit.
  • Make sure there is no air leaking around the seal. Replace damaged or leaky seals to hold cold air in.
When purchasing any type of new appliance for your home, look for Energy Star models that will use less energy. Also, to enhance your central heat and air system, consider installing a programmable thermostat that uses less energy while no one is home. Always call for professional HVAC repair if your system is not operating optimally. To learn more, call ARS Universal Heating and Cooling at 678-369-9882.

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