Savings Tips for Parents

Congratulations! Your child’s school has been selected to enroll in valuable energy and water efficiency education at no additional cost to your family. As part of the program, your child will be coming home with a kit that contains efficiency items to help your family conserve energy and water. The kit items are meant to engage both parents and students, while instilling long-term efficiency habits in children. Once you have installed the kit items, take a look at the water and energy saving tips below to learn how you and your family can make a big impact on your usage. Your child can also check out these Cool Links for more ideas. Savings amounts may vary.

Savings tips are derived from ENERGY STAR and Energy.gov.

Don’t Overwork Your Thermostat

By adjusting your thermostat to a warmer setting in summer and a cooler setting in winter, you could save up to $100 a year.

  • Make sure all the windows and doors in your house are closed before turning on either the heater or air conditioner. Don’t forget to check the kid’s rooms. More energy is spent on heating and cooling our homes than anything else.
  • Can you feel or hear the wind coming in through your windows or doors even when they are shut? If you can feel a draft, use rope caulk or weather stripping to prevent air from coming in, or going out.
  • Make the most out of the air in your house by installing a fan. In the summer months, the fan should spin to the left to keep you cool. In the winter, put it in reverse and spin the fan to the right. And don’t forget to turn it off when you leave a room. A fan cooling the air for an empty room is only wasting precious resources.
  • Keep the vents in your home clear. It costs less energy to get warm or cool air into a room when the vents are not blocked.
  • Change the air filters in your home once a month to keep your heating and cooling systems at their most efficient. Neglecting this necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning and heater performance while energy use steadily increases.
  • Did you know that by adjusting your thermostat just one degree, your family can save as much as five percent on your homes heating and cooling costs? Imagine how much money could be saved in an entire year, with this small change.
  • Open curtains and blinds on sunny winter days to let the sunshine in, and keep them closed on hot summer days to keep the house cooler.
  • For maximum savings, set your heater at or below 68° F during the day in winter months, and at 60° F at night. In the summer, set your air conditioner at or above 78° F during the day and 84° F at night.
  • Landscape your yard with shade trees. Save 10 percent or more on your energy bill, and contribute to better air quality. Shade trees are both a beautiful and cost-effective way to low your energy use.
Shine a Light on Savings

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and LED bulbs not only last 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they also save money because they use less energy. Read on to learn where you can replace and save.

  • Replace your most used 60-watt traditional incandescent bulbs with 13-watt CFLs and save up to $12 a year per bulb.
  • Replace your most used 75-watt traditional incandescent bulbs with 18-watt CFLs and save up to $16 a year per bulb.
  • Replace your most used 100-watt traditional incandescent bulbs with 23-watt CFLs and save up to $20 a year per bulb.
  • Don’t just replace incandescent lights in your overhead lighting. Make sure your table lamps, reading lamps and even night lights contain energy efficient lighting like CFLs or LED bulbs.
  • Turn the lights off when you leave the room. If you frequently forget to turn off your light, make a sticker or leave yourself a note right on the light switch, reminding you to turn off that light!
  • Whenever possible, use natural light from the sun to avoid using artificial lighting.
  • Don’t forget about the lights on the outside of your house. Holiday lights can be replaced with LED bulbs, and save 10 times the energy. Your bill will be lower, and LED bulbs last for years longer than an incandescent – up to 20 times longer. LED bulbs are also cool to the touch, so they don’t pose a fire hazard when lighting up the tree.
Don’t let the Savings run Down the Drain

Energy and water are connected. Often times when you are saving energy, you are saving water as well. It takes energy to heat water, clean water, and bring the water to our homes. Water is a vital resource to our planet and our health. Read on to learn simple ways you can conserve.

  • Turn the water off while you are brushing your teeth.
  • Only wash clothes when there is a full load to be washed. Don’t forget to wash clothes in cold water to save both energy, and water.
  • Collect the water that would otherwise run down the drain while rinsing produce or waiting for the water to warm up, and use it to water house plants.
  • Fix a water leak and save 500 gallons each month. Watch faucets for drips, and use the toilet leak detector tablets that came with your child’s kit.
  • Set the timer, and take short, five minute showers instead of baths.
  • Water plants when it is coolest outside. Just like watering your lawn during the hottest time of the day, the water you feed your plants during the heat will evaporate. Water first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night, and you will have healthier, happier plants, and more water saved.
  • Install hose nozzles on your outside hoses to prevent water from being wasted. To save even more water, turn off the hose while you wash your car, and save 100 gallons.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway, back patio or sidewalk.
Cutting Down Your Use

All of the appliances in your home cost money to run, but there are steps you can take to cut down on your usage, while saving money at the same time.

  • Use your major appliances, like the washing machine and dishwasher during non-peak hours. For example, during summer months, washing your clothes after 8 p.m. will save energy, water and money. Check with your power provider to find out peak times in your area.
  • Turn off the dishwasher before the drying cycle, and let the dishes air dry.
  • Even if you are using the appliances in your home the most efficient way, they could still be costing your family more money and energy than necessary. Replace your old, inefficient appliances with those that have the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR certified products use less energy, and can save your family money.
  • Clean the dryer lint trap after every load, and wait to do laundry until you have a full load. Interested in how you can be twice as efficient in the laundry room? Washing clothes in cold water saves not just water, but energy as well.
  • Save energy tonight by cooking dinner on the BBQ instead of in the oven or on the stove top.
  • Make sure your water heater isn’t losing heat. Install an insulating blanket around the tank.
  • Did you know your small appliances continue to drain energy even after they have been turned off? To avoid energy use when your appliances are not in use, turn off and unplug your computer, TV, CD & DVD players and other small appliances.
  • Unplug your cell phone charger when you are finished charging your phone.
  • Do you have an under used or nearly empty refrigerator or freezer in your garage? Unplug it until it is being used again and at full capacity. An empty refrigerator actually uses more energy than a full one to cool.
  • If you have a fireplace in your home, check to see if the damper is open or closed. A damper left open when the heating or cooling system is on will allow heated or cooled air to escape up the chimney.