Turn it Off!
Turning off lights and appliances when not in use, and unplugging electronic devices, such as televisions, entertainment systems and computers, that continue to draw power even when off. Some devices use up to 25 watts of “standby power” when idle, and approximately 10 percent of the total energy used by homes powers devices that are not in use. Plugging these devices into a power strip and then switching off the strip when the devices are not used is a convenient and effective way to reduce standby power.
Installing storm windows, sealing leaks and cracks with caulk and weather stripping, and adding insulation can significantly help to reduce the amount of energy used, especially in older homes, and can save up to 10 percent on heating costs.
- On cooler nights, hold a hand near places that would typically have leaks; if a draft is felt, this is a place to seal.
- Apply weather-stripping around doors and windows.
- Seal leaks around electrical switches and outlets using gaskets, available from home centers.
- Use window putty to seal loose window panes, and consider storm windows in older homes.
- Install “sweeps” or insulating gaskets beneath doors leading outdoors to stop air leaks.
- Make sure the fireplace damper is closed when the heating system is on so heated or cooled air doesn't escape up the chimney.
- Close doors quickly when you enter or leave a house where heating or air conditioning is on.
Insulation levels affect the amount of energy needed to heat (and cool) homes. The attic is one place where it may be worthwhile, and easiest, to add insulation if needed. The New York State Energy Code recommends 10 to 12 inches of insulation in attics; professional installation is recommended for floors (6 inches) and in walls (3 ½ inches).
Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs instead of incandescent bulbs – save energy, save money, and protect the environment. Compact Fluorescent lamps use up to 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb without sacrificing light quality. Although they cost more, compact fluorescent lamps about 10 times longer, and save about $50 over their lifetime.
- Also, be sure to recycle used lamps. CFLs contain tiny amounts of mercury. All businesses and households are strongly encouraged to recycle their mercury-containing lamps, including low-mercury or "green end cap" lamps. Households are exempt from the regulations but encouraged to recycle fluorescent lamps through their local NYS DEC sponsored Household Hazardous Waste Program. For more information, contact your county’s recycling and waste center, or call the NYS DEC at 518-402-8705, or visit: Summary of Household Hazardous Waste Collection Programs in NYS. Energy Star also provides guidelines on the proper handling and disposal of CFLs on their website.
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Insulating ducts and hot water pipes where they run through uninsulated areas such as crawl spaces, and repairing any leaks in the duct system.
- Have heating and cooling systems inspected regularly for safe and efficient operation.
- Change filters each season.
- Wash and dry full loads of laundry, and use clothesline when possible.
- Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as long as possible, and limit the time they are opened.
- Cover pots when cooking.
- Don't open the oven too often.
- Use the microwave whenever possible.
- Install a low-flow showerhead.
- Take shorter showers or half-full baths.
- Turn down the thermostat on your water heater.
Summer Savings Tips
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