Category Archives: Home Electric Usage

Turn Your Refrigerator Down

Refrigerators account for about 20% of household electricity use.

Use a thermometer to set your refrigerator temperature as close to 37 degrees, and your freezer temperature as close to 3 degrees as possible.

Make sure that the energy-saver switch is turned on; also, check the gaskets around your fridge-freezer doors to make sure they are clean and tight-sealed.

When It Is Time To Replace Old Appliances…

When you decide to replace old appliances, be sure to choose the most energy-efficient new models available. Look for the “Energy Star” label, so that you may be assured that what you buy saves energy and prevents pollution.

In addition, be careful to buy models of the right size for your needs—not the biggest available.

Be aware that front-loading washers can cut hot-water use by up to 60 to 70%.

Replacing a typical 1973 refrigerator with a new, energy-efficient product saves 1.4 tons of CO2 a year; a solar water heater can save 4.9 tons of CO2 annually.

PV (Photovoltaic) Solar Power Generation

Solar PV systems take energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. They produce no air pollution, hazardous waste or noise and require no transportable fuels. Benefits of installing a PV system:

  • Has very little impact on the environment, making them one of the cleanest power-generating technologies available.
  • Government incentives to reduce costs for installation. Net metering programs from utilities to provide power back to the grid affect life cycle costs of the system.
  • Produced domestically so the industry strengthens our economy and reduces our dependence on foreign sources of fuel.

Get An Energy Audit

This thorough diagnostic test takes a whole house approach to analyze where you are losing the most energy. A good analysis will also give a good indication of return on investment for various improvements. Remember, money saved on energy bills is after-tax money—so $100 annual savings on a $1,000 investment is like earning 10% tax free! And that savings grows and energy prices go up!

Beware of auditors that only have one solution!

While you may love those new windows—NYSERDA has them very low on the list of things that will save energy. If your auditor has a limited arsenal of solutions don’t be surprised by disappointing energy savings.

Fiberglass insulation

This material works very well at filtering air, but not so well as insulation. Air moves very easily through it. Any air movement quickly reduces its insulation value. In walls there are convective currents that reduce fiberglass’ effectiveness. In attics there is wind-washing from vents and stack effect up through plumbing and electrical penetrations. Furthermore, fiberglass is widely recognized as “the next asbestos.”

Sometimes the incremental investment gets the best return.

Remember the adage: “You’ve got to spend money to make money?” With energy savings,  you have  to invest money to get a return on investment. When spending $4,000 on a new furnace, that small additional investment in a variable speed motor can dramatically increase efficiency and comfort. Spending a little more for air sealing insulation instead of air permeable insulation will pay back at current energy prices—so when prices go up that incremental investment gets a geometric return. Don’t spend a bunch of money and miss the real opportunities for return on investment!