Conservation Tips

Saving money on your utility bill is easier than you think! Use the following electricity conservation tips to reduce your monthly bill in any season!
 

ELECTRICITY CONSERVATION TIPS
Click here for Spanish version: Ver Conservando energía, salvando Dinero Datos Informativos
 
1. Heat or cool only the rooms you are using. Close off unused rooms.
2. Set your thermostat at the highest or lowest comfortable setting for each season. Try 72°F or higher in the summer and 68°F or lower in the winter.
3. Run your pool pump in the evening or early morning hours and reset your pool timer to run during off-peak hours. If you have a pool heater, set it at 78 degrees or lower.
4. Shade outdoor air conditioning equipment and keep it low to the ground to reduce energy consumption by 40% or more. Keep outside heat pumps clear of debris and snow.
5. Clean or replace cooling or heating filters monthly.
6. Have your heating and cooling equipment serviced or checked at least once a year.
7. Be sure that drapes are not blocking vents.
8. Close drapes and shades to keep direct sunlight out and lower your cooling costs in summer.
9. Keep drapes open during the day to allow sun and closed at night to lower your heating costs in winter.
10. Insulate your home and caulk/weather-strip around doors and windows to reduce both cooling and heating costs. These openings can consume up to 40 percent of your home's heating and cooling energy.
11. Seal leaks around wall outlets and switches. Install door “shoes” or “sweeps” to stop air from sneaking in or out under outside doors.
12. Install door “shoes” or “sweeps” to stop air from sneaking in or out under outside doors.
13. Insulate your attic.
14. Make sure your wood burning fireplace damper is closed when not in use to prevent cooled or heated air from escaping up the chimney.
15. Use the bathroom exhaust fan during and for a short time after bathing or showering to reduce heat and moisture build-up.
16. Shift energy-intensive tasks like laundry and dishwashing to off-peak demand hours (i.e., weekdays before 10:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m., all weekend long and all day on holidays).
17. Wash full loads in your dishwasher and let the dishes air dry. Air-drying your dishes may reduce your dishwasher's energy usage by 40 percent.
18. Reduce the water heater thermostat setting to 120º F and reduce use of heated water for clothes washing. (Caution: some dishwashers require 140º F water.)
19. When using the electric range, plan ahead and cook a number of dishes or meals for later use. Open oven doors only when necessary.
20. Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use: lights, TVs, computers, microwaves, CD players, etc. "Standby power" usage can account for up to 30 percent of your home electronics energy. Be sure to check the owner's manual to make sure this won't impact the memory or performance of the machine.
21. Activate "sleep" features on computers and office equipment that power down while on, but not in use for awhile. Turn them off altogether during long periods of non-use to cut utility costs and extend longevity.
22. When buying new appliances, look at the yellow Energy Guide label and buy only energy-efficient appliances.
23. Invest in storm windows or use clear plastic window insulation to help stop cold air from leaking into your house in the winter.
24. Use electric space heaters sparingly – they are expensive to run.
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NATURAL GAS CONSERVATION TIPS
 
1. Heat only the rooms you are using. Close off unused rooms.
2. Set your thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting. Try 68°F or lower in the colder months.
3. Read your gas meter and monitor your gas usage. By reading the meter, you can gauge how fast you are using gas and can make adjustments to stay within your budget. Keep a log of your weekly consumption.
4. Adjust your gas usage. For example, if halfway into the month you are nearing your budget limit for gas, you can experiment with lower gas heating thermostat settings to see if comfort is adequate while reducing gas usage.
5. Clean or replace cooling or heating filters monthly.
6. Have your gas furnace cleaned and serviced by a professional for greater efficiency at least once a year.
7. Be sure that drapes are not blocking vents.
8. Close drapes and shades to keep direct sunlight out and lower your cooling costs in summer.
9. Keep drapes open during the day to allow sun and closed at night to lower your heating costs in winter.
10. Insulate your home and caulk/weather-strip around doors and windows to reduce both cooling and heating costs. These openings can consume up to 40 percent of your home's heating and cooling energy.
11. Seal leaks around wall outlets and switches.
12. Install door “shoes” or “sweeps” to stop air from sneaking in or out under outside doors.
13. Insulate your attic.
14. Place nonflammable insulation or nonflammable pliable materials in gaps around pipes, ducts, fans or other items that enter the attic or basement from a conditioned space.
15. Make sure your wood burning fireplace damper is closed when not in use to prevent air from escaping up the chimney.
16. Wash full loads in your dishwasher and let the dishes air dry. Air-drying your dishes may reduce your dishwasher's energy usage by 40 percent.
17. Reduce the water heater thermostat setting to 120º F and reduce use of heated water for clothes washing. (Caution – some dishwashers require 140º F water.)
18. Set your water heater temperature control to the pilot position when your home is vacant for two days or longer.
19. Invest in storm windows or use clear plastic window insulation to help stop cold air from leaking into your house in the winter.
20. Use a ceiling fan to circulate warmer air down from the ceiling into the living area.
21. Use a portable or ceiling fan to circulate air and make a breeze. Fans cost less to run and use less energy than air conditioners.
22. It is important to remember that in addition to gas costs, weather dramatically affects natural gas bills. When temperatures drop, you use more fuel to heat your home and business. By making some minor adjustments in your gas usage, you can save on your heating bill when temperatures fall.

WATER CONSERVATION TIPS
 
1. Start by turning off the tap in the bathroom when your brush your teeth or shave or in the kitchen while cleaning fruits and vegetables.
2. Put a pitcher of water in the refrigerator, so you won't have to run the tap every time you want a drink. When you let the water run, five gallons a minute pour down the drain.
3. Capture tap water. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on house plants or your garden. Saves 200 to 300 gallons per month.
4. Repair leaky faucets and replace water-guzzling fixtures and appliances with their water-efficient counterparts. A leaky faucet can waste too much water - one drip per second wastes 6000 gallons of water per year!
5. Put a shut-off nozzle on your hose. A single hose left on uses nearly 300 gallons of water per hour.
6. Don't run the hose while washing your car. Use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end. Saves 150 gallons each time. For a two-car family that's up to 1,200 gallons a month.
7. Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back, when you lift your foot, it doesn't need water. Water before 10 AM and never when it is windy. So set your sprinklers for more days in between watering. Saves 750-1,500 gallons per month.
8. Don't water the sidewalks, driveway or gutter. Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands on your lawn or garden where it belongs--and only there. Saves 500 gallons per month.
9. Landscape with grasses, shrubs and plants that require little water. Typically, 50 to 70 percent of household water is used on lawns and gardens.
10. At work, use recycled paper products, always use both sides of the paper and participate in recycling programs. Paper manufacturing is one of the top five water consuming industries.
11. Use garden lawn and garden fertilizers and pesticides sparingly. Pesticides are a leading contaminant of water. North Americans use for commercial, agricultural and residential purposes more than 500,000 tons a year.
12. Find water safe methods to control pests. For example, geraniums repel Japanese beetles, garlic and mint repel aphids and marigolds repel flies.
13. Use rechargeable batteries. Batteries can leach toxic metals including lead, mercury and cadmium into water.
14. Buy phosphate-free detergents. Phosphates increase algae growth and deplete the amount of oxygen in our lakes, rivers and streams.
15. Take shorter showers. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.
16. Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. Saves 300 to 800 gallons per month.
17. Install low-volume toilets and low-flow showerheads. Saves 500 to 800 gallons per month.
18. Don't use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Saves 400 to 600 gallons per month.
19. Mulch around trees and plants to retain water.
20. Recycle water from fish tanks by using it to water plants.
21. Start a compost pile instead of using your garbage disposal.
22. Use a broom to clean sidewalks - not a hose. Saves 150 gallons or more each time. At once a week, that's more than 600 gallons a month.
23. Use fly swatters instead of bug spray.
24. Take used motor oil and other toxic fluids to a collection site.
25. Have abandoned wells sealed by a licensed contractor.
26. Have septic systems pumped out every one to three years.
27. Remove or replace underground tanks on your property if they leak.
 
SWIMMING POOL CONSERVATION TIPS
 
1. Limit the number of times you refill the pool.
2. Cover the pool. The average swimming pool loses 1inch of water per week from evaporation. Covering the pool also prevents accidents and reduces the amount of cleaning to maintain the pool.
3. Lower the water level to reduce the loss of water from splashing.
4. Lower the pool temperature for heated pools to reduce water loss from evaporation.
5. Keep the pool and filters clean to reduce the amount of backwashing. Only backwash when necessary. When backwashing filters, reuse the water by running it onto your lawn or shrubs.
6. Make sure the water is absorbed to avoid runoff in adjacent properties.
7. If acid has been used to clean the pool, the water should be neutralized. Check the pool regularly for cracks and leaks.
 
EFFICIENT LAWN WATERING
 
Summer lawn watering creates large demands on local water utilities and can cost you lots of money. By using water more efficiently you can save money and maintain a beautiful yard and conserve valuable water supplies.
 
General
  • Adjust sprinklers to water only grass areas and not driveways and walkways.
  • Mow grass to a height of 2 inches to 3 inches. Taller grass shades the roots and soil surface reducing the amount of water that is lost to evaporation.
  • Use sprinklers that spray low large drops instead of high fine ones in order to properly water the area needed.
  • Use hand held soakers for small trees, shrubs and plants.
  • Use shut-off nozzles on hoses and repair leaky hoses and fittings.
When to Water and How Much
  • About one inch of water per week (including precipitation) is adequate for maintaining a healthy lawn. Use a can or rain gauge to track how much water your lawn is getting from the sprinkler or rain. Set the can or gauge in the middle of your lawn and place a mark at 1 inch. Water for 15 minutes during irrigation and check the water level. If it's 1 inch the ground has enough water.
  • Over-watering can promote diseases and affect the health of the lawn. Don't use a fixed schedule for lawn watering. Apply water only when it is needed. A simple test for determining if grass needs water is to walk on the lawn. If you leave footprints, it's time to water the lawn.
  • Running your sprinkler during the day, you loose up to 50% from evaporation.
  • The amount of water used by a sprinkler in one hour is equal to the daily water needs of a family of four.
  • A good soaking once or twice a week is better than daily watering. Allow the soil to dry between watering. This allows the roots to grow to greater depths and helps make turf more drought-tolerant.
Best Times for Lawn Watering
  • Water during the cool part of the day to minimize water lost to evaporation. Early morning hours (4 a.m. to 8 a.m.) are the best. Avoid peak water consumption hours (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.).
  • Avoid watering during midday hours when it is hot and sunny to prevent the grass from burning and turning brown.
  • Watering at night is not recommended. Your lawn stays wet for a long period of time which can promote diseases.
  • Avoid watering during rainy or windy weather conditions.
New Lawns and Landscaping Alternatives
  • Add organic matter before seeding to improve water and nutrient retention.
  • Use drought-tolerant grass seed and sod.
  • Reduce turf areas by planting drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, and plants.