Tips To Help Conserve Electricity

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1 Tips To Help Conserve Electricity AND REDUCE YOUR POWER BILL

2 Cut Your Power Bill Nobody wants to pay more than necessary for power! But a lot of us do. And that hurts when you live in a place with warm summers and cold winters like Big Bear. Bear Valley Electric Service wants to help you keep your power costs down. This booklet is full of tips to help cut your power bill. Some ways to save are as simple and cheap as turning off the light switch. Other ideas are more costly or need you to do some work or hire a contractor, such as buying a new air conditioner or insulating your home Introduction Insulation Windows & Doors Water Heaters Fans & Coolers Thermostatic Controls Lighting Air Conditioners Other Ways to Save (Refrigerators/ Clothes Washers)

3 Introduction Where The Money Goes To better understand the possibilities for saving money, it helps to look at the big picture. If you divide every dollar spent to show what each component of power usage costs, this is what the breakdown would look like. Just think how much money you could save by cutting your cooling costs by 20 percent! a. lighting % b. heating and air conditioning..28% Bear Valley s Role You might wonder why a utility that sells power would want to help you cut your power bill. That s easy. As a community based utility, BVES is in the business of providing its customers with the best service at the lowest possible cost. The largest part of your energy price includes the costs of producing and delivering power to you. By helping you keep your power use down, especially in the hottest or coldest part of the day, BVES can reduce the amount of expensive peak power it must buy. And that saves everybody money. c. cooking % d. refrigeration % e. major appliances % f. entertainment % g. small appliances % b = Bear Valley Energy Saving Tip = The Symbol For Energy Efficiency 01

4 Insulation Since more than half of your energy costs are for heating and cooling, a little insulation could go a long way toward lowering your energy bill. Should you insulate your home? You may consider it if you have an older home with little or no insulation and if: Your energy bills are high. You are uncomfortably cold in the winter and hot in the summer. You are adding an addition to your home. (It s easier and cheaper to do now than later). If you re going to do it yourself, carefully follow the manufacturer s instructions and take the precautions recommended. Install minimum R-19 rated attic insulation (R-38 is recommended) and minimum R-11 rated floor insulation (5-19 is recommended). Check the ENERGY STAR web site for more details about insulation at tion/index.html. But give the project careful consideration, it could be expensive. Should you do it yourself or hire a contractor? This decision depends on several factors. Often a careful homeowner can install insulation batts or poured-in insulation in attic floors, basements, new or open walls and crawl spaces. Blown-in and sprayedin insulation as well as adding insulation to a mobile home are best left to the professional installer. 02

5 Windows & Doors Windows A lot of heating and cooling can go right out the window if you re not careful. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce this. Use awnings, solar screens or plant shade trees around the exterior of your home. Indoor decorative shading provides insulation as well, but is less effective. The key is stopping the UV rays before they hit your windowpanes. Installing ENERGY STAR windows and skylights can also reduce energy loss, knock 15 percent off your cooling costs and make your home more comfortable. These products are twice as efficient as the average windows manufactured just 10 years ago. Doors Drafty doors can send heating and cooling bills through the roof. b An easy way to prevent energy loss here is to maintain good weather stripping. Also, check to make sure there is a good seal between the weather stripping and the door. Check doors for cracks around the frame and repair and replace when necessary. If you are installing a new door, look for the ENERGY STAR label. They are 40 percent more efficient than products required under most common building codes. By virtue of their design ENERGY STAR windows help eliminate drafts and resist condensation. Also, low-e coated glass, found in many ENERGY STAR products, can reduce harmful UV rays by up to 75 percent. 03

6 Water Heaters About 20 percent of a power bill in a home goes toward heating water. There are a lot of ways to cut the cost of heating water, including buying a highefficiency water heater. But you don t have to go as far as buying a new water heater to save big money. b A leaky hot water faucet can cause your water heater to waste a lot of energy. A leak of one drip per second can cost $1 or more per month and bigger leaks can raise that loss substantially. To see the potential for savings on the cost of energy to heat water it helps to understand how much hot water a family uses in a day. A typical family uses 60 to 80 gallons of hot water a day. Here s where the hot water goes: Tub bath gallons Shower (under 5 minutes) gallons Automatic washer gallons Automatic dishwasher gallons Hand-washing dishes gallons Cleaning gallons Food preparations gallons There are plenty of ways to save money on heating water. For instance, you can: b Put an insulating wrap on your water heater if it s an older model to reduce your heat loss. And insulate the pipes going into and out of the tank. b Take five-minute showers instead of baths, to use a lot less hot water. And install a low-flow showerhead, which can reduce water use by 50 to 70 percent. b Set the temperature on your water heater at 120 degrees, unless you have an older automatic dishwasher that requires water heated to 140 degrees. b Wash clothes in the coolest water possible. Rinse clothes in cold water. And wash clothes only when you have a full load. b Turn off power to your water heater when you are away for more than a weekend. If you have questions about water heaters contact BVES at or you can call (909) or toll-free (800) 808-BVES. 04

7 Fans & Coolers Turning on an air conditioner is the most effective and also the most expensive way to cool your home. Fortunately, there are other less expensive ways to make summer more bearable. Portable fans, ceiling fans and evaporative coolers can go a long way toward keeping your home cool at a fraction of the cost of an air conditioner. Portable fans b Use a portable fan as the cheapest way to keep cool. Fans cool by evaporating the moisture from your skin. Because they are portable they can easily be moved to meet your family's needs. Ceiling Fans b Use a ceiling fan as another inexpensive means of cooling yourself in your home and get a decorative item as well. Like portable fans, ceiling units move the air across the perspiration on your skin, causing it to evaporate and cool you. Remember that fans do not cool homes, only people, so if you're in a room with a fan, turn it on, but remember to turn it off when leaving the room. Evaporative Coolers b Use an evaporative cooler to reduce the need for your air conditioner. Evaporative coolers cool and humidify by blowing air across wet pads. Evaporative coolers cost less to operate and run than an air conditioner. b Evaporative coolers work best in warm, dry weather, so you may still want to use your air conditioner on humid days. By using an evaporative cooler, you may be able to cut the use of your air conditioner from five or six months a year to just two. Using an evaporative cooler for 5 months rather than your air conditioner can save $100 to $120 on your annual electric bill. By using fans and an evaporative cooler to supplement your air conditioner you can save money and extend the life of your air conditioner. b Make sure fans and evaporative coolers are properly maintained to keep them operating most efficiently and to extend their lives. b By using fans you can also raise your thermostat 2-3 degrees, lower your power bill and remain cool. 05

8 Thermostatic Controls The thermostat is the heart of your heating and cooling system. It turns your air conditioner and/or furnace on or off when indoor temperatures change. A key factor to cutting your cooling costs is a properly set unit. Many are manually set, but new models can be programmed automatically, and have better efficiency. b BVES recommends setting your unit at 78 degrees or higher during the summer and at 68 degrees or lower in the winter. ENERGY STAR has labeled a number of programmable models that can shave up to 20 to 30 percent off your power bill. To get a list of models, check the EPA website at: appdstar/hvac/prodthem.html. Make sure your unit is placed between 2 to 5 feet above the floor. Avoid placing unit on outside walls, near outside doors or bedrooms where windows may be left open. Do not place near cooling or heating outlets, behind doors, on walls that receive heat from the sun or fireplace or on walls that house cooling or heating pipes, ducts or chimneys. Avoid placing close to furniture. Lamps, TVs or radios under a unit will give false readings. Set your unit at a conservation level and maintain that level while the home is occupied. When vacant, raise the setting 10 to 15 degrees in the summer to avoid unnecessary cooling. Working families can really save using a programmable thermostat. They are easy to use and can be programmed to automatically change temperature settings at different times, depending on your cooling needs. 06

9 Lighting When it comes to your power bill, no one wants to be left in the dark. Unfortunately, many of us add unnecessary expense to our power bills because of the way we light our homes. More than 80 percent of our perception of the world is based on what we see. Unless you are an owl, you don't see all that well in the dark. Light is actually vital for most tasks we do as well as maintaining safety. Having enough light can actually make you more productive. The problem is that the standard incandescent bulbs most of us use are not very efficient. Just 10 percent of the energy used by standard bulbs is used to produce light. The other 90 percent is wasted as heat. Believe it or not, incandescent bulbs are hot enough to fry an egg! Thanks to new technology, there is now an alternative. Use ENERGY STAR -qualified compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). CFLs produce as much light as incandescent bulbs, but at a much cooler temperature. That means a CFL uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb and lasts up to 10 times longer. And CFLs can be used almost anywhere a standard incandescent bulb is used, including lamps, recessed lighting fixtures and enclosed outdoor fixtures. Even without changing every bulb in your house, there are several ways you can cut the amount of energy needed to light your home. Turn off outdoor lighting during the day. Consider installing timer switches or photoelectric controls to control outdoor lighting. For more light, use one large bulb instead of several smaller ones. A 100- watt bulb produces more light with less energy than two 60-watt bulbs. Put floor lamps and hanging lamps in corners. Reflections off the walls will give you more light. And don't forget to turn off all lights, televisions, stereos, computers and radios when no one will be in the room. 07

10 Air Conditioners Central air conditioners and room air conditioners are great for the hot summer months, but poorly maintained units can increase energy and repair costs. Service your air conditioner regularly. Improper maintenance can be responsible for 80 percent of major repairs and result in high cooling costs as well. Service your air conditioner annually before each cooling season. Some of the simple things you may be able to do yourself like cleaning or replacing the filter monthly during the cooling season but you should have a contractor conduct an annual comprehensive maintenance check that includes: Washing condenser coils and checking fan condition Inspecting and cleaning the condenser fan blades Lubricating condenser and blower fan and motor bearings Additional ways to cut your cooling bill: Close windows and doors when the unit is running Use portable and ceiling fans and raise your thermostat 2-3 degrees Reduce kitchen heat in summer by using a microwave, crockpot, or barbecue If you are replacing an existing A/C, replace it with a high efficiency ENERGY STAR rated unit. CHOOSE AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT UNIT Efficiency and the ENERGY STAR logo are important factors. Look for the ENERGY STAR logo and the unit s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). Over time, the investment in an energy efficient unit will be paid back with energy savings. To get a list of ENERGY STAR labeled A/C s and SEER ratings, check the EPA s ENERGY STAR website at: Checking refrigerant charge Inspecting and cleaning blower fan blades and evaporator coils Cleaning the condensate drain pan. Checking and clearing the condensor drain line Inspecting unit wiring and electrical disconnect Checking temperature and pressures Calibrating the thermostat 08

11 Other Ways To Save Once you get the hang of it, you will find all kinds of ways to cut your power costs. For instance: 1. b Clean the coils on your refrigerator every three months. The condenser will run better and need less energy to keep the food cold. Use a coil brush to avoid damaging the coil with a vacuum. 6. Installing ENERGY STAR windows can save up to 15 percent on your heating and cooling costs. 7. b Planting shrubs and trees to shade your home can keep inside temperatures down and reduce air conditioner usage. 8. Do the no-cost/low-cost measures first. 2. Install an ENERGY STAR refrigerator. 3. b Clean dryer lint filters each load. 4. Try to wash your clothes after 7pm in the evening. 5. b Use an evaporative cooler to reduce air conditioner use. 09

12 For complete information on the Energy Star Energy Efficiency Program, please contact our business office at (909) , or go online to: BOOKLET DESIGN 2005 CONVEYOR GROUP

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