Through our Beat the Peak program, Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative offers ways that members can conserve energy and help keep rates low for all our members. Even if you don't feel that Beat the Peak is right for you, there are other ways that you can change your energy habits to help our membership Beat the Peak! Making these small changes during peak hours will help you conserve energy and will make an impact on your power bill. Below are a few examples of how to get started. You can also check out our #MondayMoneySavers archive to find 104 energy saving tips that you can use in your home to decrease your energy usage.
- In the winter, lowering the thermostat by as little as 1 degree Farenheit can reduce a heating bill by 3% per degree. Heating costs are typically the biggest expense in powering a person's home.
- Programmable thermostats allow you to set times that your heat can be turned down, or off, automatically. Take advantage of this for times during the day when no one will be home.
- The Department of Energy recommends a thermostat setting of 68 degrees in winter months.
- Caulk, seal, and weatherstrip all seams, cracks, and openings to reduce air leaks in your home. Culprit areas include spaces around doors, windows, or drop-down stairs such as ones used for attics. Also be sure to seal areas where plumbing, ducting, or wiring penetrate through exterior walls, floors, and ceilings.
- Try using an area rug to increase insulation levels on your floors. Area rugs can keep cool air form entering your home through your floors, saving your toes from the chill and your home from additional heating cost.
- Be sure to have your dryer exhaust vent inspected at least once per year to make sure it is running efficiently and is not kinked, clogged, or blocked.
- If you have a secondary refrigerator that isn't getting much use, try to fit anything inside in your main fridge and unplug the empty back-up refrigerator.
- Lower your water heater to 120 degrees F. This will keep your water heat at acceptable levels and will be more cost-effective than default settings. If your house only has one or two members, 115 degrees F will suffice.
- Try to be mindful of your time spent in the shower to save money on water heating, especially if others have to use the shower after you. Experts recommend 5-7 minute showers.
- Consider insulating your water heater tank, which could reduce standby heat losses by 25 to 45 percent and save you about 4 to 9 percent in water heating costs.
- Be sure to replace furnace filters monthly or as recommended. If you heat your home with warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, or radiators, clean them regularly to improve efficiency.
- When going away, be sure to unplug electronics that draw phantom energy load. Some gadgets, like TVs, gaming consoles, chargers, and DVD or Blu-Ray platers use energy when plugged into an outlet, even when they're not in use.
- An electric space heater can cost more than $100 per month to operate. Minimize their use, except for limited or temporary spot heating. Be sure to turn space heaters off when leaving the room.
- During cold days, make sure drapes and shades are left open to catch free solar heat. At night, close shades and drapes to store heat in your home.
- Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers. Frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to keep the engine running. Never allow frost to build up more than one quarter of an inch.
- Wash clothes in cold water, preferably using cold-water detergents. Unless your laundry has oily stains, cold or warm water will clean clothes with the same effectiveness. Even switching the water from hot to warm will cut a load's energy consumption in half.