Utility costs are accelerating, and this winter will likely bring no exception. Here are a few ways to help cut costs on energy bills this winter, according to Sunnova, a solar-power company.
1. Consider installing a timer on the water heater. It will shut off when you’re not there and prevent wasting hot water when no one is home.
2. Use cold water instead of hot water when washing clothes. Nearly 90 percent of the energy consumed by washing machines goes to heating the water, according to EPA’s Energy Star program.
3. Use a slow cooker and microwave when you cook. You can reduce up to 50 percent of energy consumed in meal preparation by not using the range and oven and using a slow cooker or microwave to heat instead.
4. Keep your computer in sleep or hibernation mode when you’re not using it.
5. Unplug certain electronics and appliances that use “phantom power” – they’re still using up energy from the outlet even when they’re not in use.
6. Keep the fridge between 36 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer between zero and 5 degrees. Defrost any ice build-up thicker than a 0.25-inch to improve refrigerator efficiency.
Source: “Your Place: Ways to Hold Down Winter Energy Costs,” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Dec. 6, 2015)