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Energy Saving Tips

Home Heating

You can save as much as 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10 percent to 15 percent for eight hours.

Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.

Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans wisely; in just 60 minutes, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.

Water Heaters

Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period.

Insulate your hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the thermostat. With a propane, natural gas, or oil water heater, be careful not to cover the water heater’s top, bottom, or burner compartment; when in doubt, get professional help.

Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it’s best to start shopping for a new one if yours is more than seven years old.

Lower the thermostat on a water heater; a setting of 115° Fahrenheit provides comfortable hot water for most uses.

Drain a quart of water from the water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of the heater.

Take more showers than baths. Less than 10 gallons of water are used during a five-minute shower while 15-25 gallons of hot water are used for a bath.

Home Appliances

When purchasing a gas oven or range, look for one with an automatic, electric ignition system. An electric ignition saves gas—because a pilot light is not burning continuously.

Be sure that all burners are burning with a blue, cone-shaped flame. A yellow flame indicates clogged air inlets or burners that need adjustment. Contact a propane retailer’s service department immediately if you do not see a blue flame.

Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, and you will save energy.

Make sure the refrigerator door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper or a dollar bill so it is half in and half out of the refrigerator. If you can pull the paper or bill out easily, the latch may need adjustment or the seal may need replacing.

Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels when buying appliances. ENERGY STAR® is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designed to help consumers identify energy-efficient appliances and products. The bright yellow EnergyGuide sticker will tell you how much it will cost to run the water heater for one year. Propane water heaters cost a third less to operate than electric models.

National Propane Gas Association/Propane Education & Research Council (2003) U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (2003) American Water Heater Company (2002)