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Energy Saving Tips to Help You Stay Warm and Informed

There are several simple steps, both short-term and long-term, that consumers can follow to lower their energy bills this winter. 

Americans are not powerless when it comes to their energy bills, said Randy Chitty, chairman of the Propane Education & Research Councils Homeowner Subcommittee. A few small changes before and during the cold weather season really can make a big difference.

Energy Saving Tips Consumers Should Pursue Now:

  • Inspect and tune-up your residential heating system regularly. A heating system that runs well is more efficient and will save you money.

  • Invest in a furnace thermostat timer that lowers your homes temperature when you are not at home. You can cut annual heating bills by as much as 10 percent per year by turning your thermostat back 10-15 percent for eight hours per day.

  • Protect against drafts by caulking and weather-stripping around windows, doors and other openings such as ducts, fans and vents.

  • Install flow-restricting showerheads. You can reduce hot water usage by up to 50 percent without affecting shower pressure.

  • Consider switching to a propane water heater. Over time, propane water heaters can cost up to one-third less to operate and they recover hot water twice as quickly as electric water heaters.

  • Discuss payment plan options with your propane retailer. Many retailers have budget payment plans that will help you spread your projected annual cost of propane over many months, lowering the costs of seasonally higher bills.

Energy Saving Tips Consumers Should Follow Throughout the Cold Weather Season:

  • Change your furnace filter monthly. Clean filters will increase efficiency. If on a monthly payment plan, use receipt of your monthly propane bill as a reminder

  • Run washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers with a full load.

  • Turn down your water heater from the standard 120 degrees to 115 degrees. You could save more than 10 percent on your water heating bill.

  • Increase your water heaters efficiency by draining it every six months to remove mineral deposits and sediment.

Home Heating

  • You can save as much as 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10-15 % for eight hours.

  • Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.

  • Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans wisely; in just 60 minutes, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.

Water Heaters

  • Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period.

  • Insulate your hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the thermostat. With a propane, natural gas, or oil water heater, be careful not to cover the water heater's top, bottom, or burner compartment; when in doubt, get professional help.

  • Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it's best to start shopping for a new one if yours is more than seven years old.

  • Lower the thermostat on a water heater; a setting of 115F provides comfortable hot water for most uses.

  • Drain a quart of water from the water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of the heater.

  • Take more showers than baths. Less than 10 gallons of water are used during a five-minute shower while 15-25 gallons of hot water are used for a bath.

Home Appliances

  • When purchasing a gas oven or range, look for one with an automatic, electric ignition system. An electric ignition saves gas-because a pilot light is not burning continuously.

  • Be sure that all burners are burning with a blue, cone-shaped flame. A yellow flame indicates clogged air inlets or burners that need adjustment. Contact our service department immediately if you do not see a blue flame.

  • Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy.

  • Make sure the refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment or the seal may need replacing.

  • Look for the ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide labels when buying appliances. ENERGY STAR is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designed to help consumers identify energy-efficient appliances and products. The bright yellow EnergyGuide sticker will tell you how much it will cost to run the water heater for one year. Propane water heaters cost a third less to operate than electric models.

To learn more about how propane can bring efficient energy solutions to your home, contact a Weaver Propane Energy Consultant today.