Sunrise in Kalispell

Ways to Save - Appliances

Home Electronics

Vanquish the Vampires: Up to 75% of electricity used by home electronics is consumed when the electronics are turned “off.” Any device that has a clock, a remote control, a little glowing light, or a charger draws power continuously unless unplugged. To conserve this power, simply unplug them or turn off the power strip they’re plugged in to when they’re not in use. Save – A – Watt and Save Money!

Play it safe: Besides wasting energy, leaving electric appliances and equipment on unnecessarily will cause them to wear out faster. It may also be a significant safety hazard. So, play it safe and turn them off when you’re through.

Put your computer to sleep: Screen savers do not save energy and are no longer necessary for extending screen life. Instead, save energy when you’re away by turning it off or enabling the power saving mode on your computer. If you’re using the power saving settings set the computer to go into sleep or hibernate mode after 15 minutes of no activity. You’ll save energy and extend the life of your computer.

Turn Down your TV display: Most televisions are shipped from the factory with the screen at it’s brightest setting which isn’t needed for optimal viewing at home. To save energy and improve the picture quality dim the screen using the TV’s settings.

Don’t be a blockhead: It is only necessary to operate your engine block heater for a few hours prior to starting your vehicle. Larger block heaters are the equivalent of running a space heater continuously outside and add unnecessarily to your bill. FEC recommends using a timer to control the hours of usage.

Use a smart strip: Instead of just a standard power strip, use a smart strip to control home electronics such as media centers and computer stations. Strips are available that either turn outlets on and off on a timer, via occupancy sensors or by designating one device (such as the TV or computer) as the control device and switching off everything else when the control device is turned off.

Pick a Laptop: If you’re shopping for a new computer, consider purchasing a laptop instead of a desktop. Aside from all the convenience of a portable computer, they also use 75 to 90% less energy than a desktop. Because they’re designed to efficiently use batteries, laptops use less power to operate and come with pre-programmed energy-saving settings that put them to sleep.

Choose an Energy Star Computer: Energy usage is an important consideration when purchasing a new computer. An ENERGY STAR labeled laptop or desktop computer uses as much as 70% less electricity than computers without this designation.

Buy Energy Star home office equipment: When you’re in the market for new office equipment such as printers, faxes, scanners, choosing an energy efficient model is a smart choice. Office Equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR helps save energy through special energy-efficient designs, which allow them to use less energy to perform regular tasks, and automatically enter a low-power mode when not in use.

Buy Energy Star Televisions: ENERGY STAR qualified TVs use about 30% less energy than standard units.

Pools/Spas

Use the optimal temperature settings: A sufficient temperature for spas is 102° F or lower. Higher temperature water can be a safety hazard and cost you a lot more money to maintain that temperature. Check on the accuracy of your pool or spa thermostat. An inaccurate thermostat can increase consumption needlessly.

Do not over-filter: Filtering is a major cost of owning a pool or spa. The average spa requires a minimum of one hour of filtering a day; just enough to maintain water clarity. An average swimming pool often requires approximately 4 to 5 hours of filtering each day in the summer.
Generally, one complete water exchange every 24 hours will provide adequate filtering. If you use a pool maintenance service, ask about reducing the hours of filtration.

Turn off those bubbles: Bubbles may be soothing, but they cool down the water, making the heater run longer to keep the water warm.

Invest in a pool or spa cover: You can save as much as 90% of your summer pool heating costs by using a solar cover. Not only does it help minimize nighttime heat loss (up to 5° F), but it will also prevent chemical loss and water evaporation (hundreds of gallons per month). When shopping for a cover, keep these features in mind: durability, price, warranty, transparency of material, insulation values, and safety.

Protect your pool or spa: Wind has the same effect on your pool or spa as blowing on hot soup. It will cool it off and increase evaporation. Well-trimmed hedges, trees and shrubs, gazebos, and fencing can all provide a nice windbreak.

Consider a timer: A timer gives you day-to-day, automatic control of your filter and heater which will reduce your operating costs.

Go with efficiency: When you replace your filter pump motor consider purchasing an energy efficient model.

Go Solar: Solar pool heating systems are especially effective during the summer months and can back up a regular pool heater in the spring and fall. A solar pool heating system can be a significant investment, so make sure the savings have a payback period of less than or equal to the useful life of the equipment.

Oven/Range

Your food budget doesn’t stop at the checkout counter. Here are some suggestions to help you save energy and money when cooking.

Give your range or oven the day off: Microwave and toaster ovens are good ways to reduce your cooking costs. Microwave and toaster ovens use less energy compared to the standard electric range/oven when heating up or re-heating foods. They also give off much less heat which is especially important in the summer.

Don’t preheat if you don’t have to: If you’re baking breads and cakes, preheating your oven may be necessary. But for most foods (casseroles and broiled items) preheating simply isn’t necessary. It’s an energy and money waster.

Keep it closed: Remember, every time you open your oven door you lose approximately 25°F of heat. This means your food will take longer to cook and your oven needs to work that much harder to keep the temperature consistent.

Boil until boiling and not a minute longer: Once water or other liquids reach a state of boiling, they won’t get any hotter. If you need to bring something to a boil, use the smallest amount of water necessary and turn the burner down or off when it starts to boil.

Think smart… plan your meals: A meal like roasted chicken, green bean casserole, and brownies can all be cooked at the same time because they cook at the same temperature. It is easier on you and your oven too.

Cover it up: Covers and lids on your pots and pans trap steam to help cook food faster.

Pay attention to pots and pans: Pans with flared sides or bottoms that are smaller than your burner let heat escape. Try to match the size of the pot or pan to the size of the burner. If pots and pans are too big, or have warped bottoms, food will not cook evenly.

Use your leftovers: Your oven and range have leftovers too. An electric oven can stay hot for up to 30 minutes. Even your electric range top burner can stay hot for an extra 3 to 5 minutes. Take advantage of this extra heat by warming up desserts or rolls. After all, you’ve already paid for it.

Keep your oven clean: An oven that’s free of grease and baked-on residue will work more efficiently. Utilize the self-cleaning feature only when absolutely needed.

Thaw first, then cook: Plan ahead. If you thaw your foods completely before cooking, your oven won’t have to work so hard to cook your meal.

Upgrade to an induction range: An induction cooker is faster and more effective than a traditional electric cooking surface. It allows instant control of cooking energy similar to gas burners. Other cooking methods use flames or red-hot heating elements; induction heating heats only the pot. Because the surface of the cook top is heated only by contact with the vessel, the possibility of burn injury is significantly less than with other methods. The induction effect does not directly heat the air around the vessel, resulting in further energy savings.

Upgrade to a convection oven: A convection oven is an oven that has fans to circulate air around food. Conventional ovens which do not have fans, rely primarily on radiation from the oven walls, and to a lesser extent, on natural convection caused by temperature differences within the oven, to transfer heat to food. In contrast, the fans in convection ovens allow more heat to be transferred. Fans help distribute heat evenly around the food, removing the blanket of cool air that surrounds food in an oven, allowing food to cook more evenly in less time and at a lower temperature than in a conventional oven.

Refrigerator/Freezer

If you’re like most people, chances are your refrigerator/freezer is one of the largest single consumers of energy in your home, gobbling up about 8% of your household’s annual energy costs. Why? It is on 24 hours a day using between 100 and 200 kilowatt hours a month.

Keep it clean: To maximize your refrigerator’s efficiency, clean the coils every three months (or as often as necessary) keeping them free of dust.

Pull the Plug: Unplug and recycle any non-essential refrigerator and freezers. Some people keep their old refrigerator or freezer in the garage, but it is sitting their sucking money out of your bank account. FEC will provide you with a rebate to recycle those old units.

Fill it up: Keep your refrigerator and freezer full but not overloaded. It takes more energy to cool an empty area but too much food in either compartment can prevent cold air from circulating properly. Utilize bottles filled with water to take up unused space and provide a nice cool drink on a hot summer day.

Keep it closed: Keep the refrigerator/freezer door closed. Every time you open the door you increase the energy consumption by 10% until the set temperature is reached again. So make your decisions before you open the door and get everything you need quickly and at one time.

Keep it cool: Keep your refrigerator and freezer in a well-ventilated, dry, and cool place out of the sun and away from your oven, stove, water heater, clothes drier, and any other warm location. A 10% increase in temperature around a fridge can result in 20% higher energy consumption.

Set it Properly: Set your refrigerator between 37 and 40 degrees. Set your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees.

Keep it level: A refrigerator that’s not level may cause the door gasket to seal improperly letting the cold air leak out.

Keep foods covered: Covering foods will reduce moisture build-up on the inside of the refrigerator. Also, wipe moisture from bottles and other containers before placing them in the refrigerator.

Defrost as required: Defrost your freezer when ice or frost build-up is 1/4″ or thicker.

Don’t cool it if you aren’t going to save it: Think about those leftovers before putting them in the fridge. Are you really going to eat it? Why cool something you’ll probably throw out anyway?

Plan for Vacation: If you’re going away for a few days, get rid of foods that are likely to spoil. If you are going to be gone for more than a month, consider cleaning out your refrigerator, unplugging it and leaving the doors open.

Keep it maintained: A refrigerator works best when it has been properly maintained. The seals around refrigerator and freezer doors dry out and stop sealing well over time, allowing cooled air to escape and wasting energy. Check to be sure your seals are still good by closing the door on a $1 dollar bill and slowly pulling it out – no resistance means that cold air is escaping even when the door is shut and you should replace the seal or adjust the door, if possible.

Purchase a new refrigerator/freezer: When you need a new refrigerator or freezer, be sure to choose an ENERGY STAR model. ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator models use at least 20% less energy than required by current federal. For even greater efficiency, choose a refrigerator with the freezer compartment below or above the fridge rather than a side-by-side model. Along with efficiency, be sure to compare cubic footage and purchase a model that matches your needs.

Dishwasher

Fill it up: Washing full loads will reduce the amount of energy and water required to clean your dishes. One full load costs less to run than two smaller loads.

Dry them for free: Use the air dry function on your dishwasher.

Skip the pre-rinse: Don’t use the pre-rinse cycle on your dishwasher. It is not necessary with today’s dishwashers. Skipping it can save as much as 20 gallons per load or 6,500 gallons/year.

New Dishwasher: Is your dishwasher more than 10 years old? Replacing it with an ENERGY STAR model will save you energy and water since ENERGY-STAR-rated models use at least 40% less energy than the federal minimum standard for energy consumption and a third less water.

Washer & Dryer

Fill it: Run your washer and drier with full loads unless the washer and dryer have automatic adjustment for smaller loads.

Separate: Lightweight and heavy clothes take different lengths of time to dry. If you wash by weight of the fabrics you can save on your drying costs.

Wash your laundry in cold water: 90% of energy consumption for washing clothes comes from heating the water. Utilize cold water with a cold water detergent to get your clothes just as clean and save. Besides, they’ll fade less and have fewer wrinkles. You might even save on ironing. Save washing in warm water for whites or hard-to-clean items. Not sure if this will work for you? Start small: rinse in cold water and wash in warm. If this works, try a cold rinse with cold wash.

Take advantage of residual heat: Why heat the dryer up to operating temperature for every load? Dry multiple loads of clothes in a row to take advantage of the residual heat in the dryer which helps dry the subsequent load.

Get the lint out: Clean your dryer’s lint screen after every use and check and clean the dryer venting system at least once a year. Besides keeping your clothes looking good, a lint-free dryer works much more efficiently.

Check your hose and faucet connections: Check for hose cracks and leaky faucet connections. Both can cause you to lose water (or worse: hot water) every time you wash a load of clothes.

Don’t overwork your clothes: Most clothes need only a 10 to 15 minute wash cycle to get clean. Over drying will make them stiff, wrinkled, and nearly impossible to iron. They’ll wear out faster too! Wash and dry for only as long as necessary.

Dry them for Free: Install a clothesline and use the sun to dry your clothes. It’s free, and the only energy it requires is yours to hang them on the line.

New Clothes Washer: Reduce your washing costs by as much as 70% by replacing your washing machine with a new ENERGY STAR® labeled model. These models can also reduce your detergent use, reduce clothes drying time, and cut water use by 30% or more which could equal 6000 gallons per year. Less water also means a lower water bill. FEC offers a rebate for the purchase of a high efficiency clothes washer.

New Clothes Dryer: Save on your dryer costs but choosing an Energy Star rated model or even better a heat pump model to save more! FEC offers a rebate for the purchase of Energy Star Dryers.