Energy conservation tips

December 16, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

Energy conservation is the key to saving heating dollars this winter, Maryland Energy Administration Director Fred Hoover said.

Here are some household energy-saving tips:

  • Look for energy leaks. You can discover drafts by putting your hand in front of a window or door base, then caulk or weather strip to seal the gaps.

  • Insulate your basement, attic and crawl spaces.

  • Insulate and seal heating ducts.

  • Insulate hot water pipes.

  • Keep your fireplace damper closed when you aren't using it.

  • Clean or change your vent filters once a month.

  • Maintain your heat pump or furnace. Have them serviced promptly if they make strange noises.

  • Use your thermostat wisely. For heating, set it at 65-70 degrees during the day and 60-65 degrees at night. Use sweaters and comforters so that you can set the thermostat at a lower temperature.

  • Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

  • Clean outside heating units regularly. Keep units free from blockages.

  • Use space heaters as little as possible because they are expensive to operate.

  • Don't overheat water. Reduce the temperature setting on the water heater thermostat. If you never run out of hot water, the setting is probably too high.

  • Consider replacing a water heater that stores hot water with one that delivers hot water on demand. The initial expense will quickly be repaid in energy savings.

  • Keep your water heater clean. Once or twice a year, drain a bucket of water out of the bottom of the tank. When you remove sediment, you will save energy by keeping the heating element in contact with the water.

  • Blanket your water heater with an approved insulation jacket.
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