Introduction To The Nebraska Energy Assistance Network

Are you wasting money? If your home uses energy inefficiently, you are wasting money. But with just a few simple changes, you can reduce the energy you use and spend less on your utilities. Plus, by using energy wisely, you not only help yourself, you also help the environment.Although energy costs are expected to rise in the future, the Get a Head Start on Energy Program will help you to stay on top of your utility bills. Throughout the program, we’ll cover such topics as budgeting for energy costs, energy efficiency, keeping your home healthy and safe, finding an energy efficient home, energy resources, kids can save energy too, and communication for

Although energy costs are expected to rise in the future, the Get a Head Start on Energy Program will help you to stay on top of your utility bills. Throughout the program, we’ll cover such topics as budgeting for energy costs, energy efficiency, keeping your home healthy and safe, finding an energy efficient home, energy resources, kids can save energy too, and communication for problem-solving.

Let’s get started. To make this program as good as it can be, we need your input. By taking a quick survey, you’ll help us understand how we can make the program better for you and for others. All responses will be kept completely confidential, and we’ll never share your answers with anyone outside the program.

This program was created by the Nebraska Energy Assistance Network. The mission of this organization is to assist Nebraskans with their energy needs through education, advocacy, and partnerships. By watching this video and going through the Get a Head Start on Energy program, we hope you’ve learned some great energy-saving tips, but most importantly, we hope you’ll continue to use them in your daily lives to better manage your energy needs.In these modules, we’ve seen budgeting strategies to help manage energy costs. We’ve seen how to make your home more energy-efficient and ways to keep your home healthy and safe. We’ve also seen ways to find an energy-efficient home and discussed how to locate energy resources that may be available during financial emergencies. We’ve seen how you can conserve energy as a family and how to solve problems with more effective communication.

In these modules, we’ve seen budgeting strategies to help manage energy costs. We’ve seen how to make your home more energy-efficient and ways to keep your home healthy and safe. We’ve also seen ways to find an energy-efficient home and discussed how to locate energy resources that may be available during financial emergencies. We’ve seen how you can conserve energy as a family and how to solve problems with more effective communication.These modules were developed to be as clear and informative as

These modules were developed to be as clear and informative as possible but to make this program as good as it can be we need your input. By taking a quick post-survey, you’ll help us understand how we can make the program even better. All responses will be kept completely confidential and we’ll never share your answers with anyone outside the program. When you’re done, be sure to return all the completed forms to your facilitator. Again, thank you for participating.

 

How Replacing And Sealing Windows and Doors Can Save Money On Home Energy Use

Windows and doors. In the last section, we talked a little bit about windows. In this part of the video, we’ll take a closer look and see how we can make them even more energy efficient. Windows account for 10 to 25% of your home’s heating bill, especially in colder climates like ours. Even when properly cogged, windows can lose quite a bit of heat just through the glass so it’s important to do whatever you can to make them less wasteful. If you have an older home, you may have inefficient single pane glass in your windows. If you do, you might want to think about replacing them with newer ones that are multi-paned and ENERGY STAR qualified. In some cases, however, you may simply want to keep the windows you have but make them work better. One of the best ways to improve your existing windows is to add new or used storm windows. These simple additions can reduce window heat loss by 50%, so they can be a good choice for many people.

As another option, you can reduce heat loss and air leaks by covering your windows with shrink-wrapped plastic. Although it’s a temporary solution and not very durable, shrink wrapping the inside of your windows can be an inexpensive way to keep the cold out and the heat in. Similarly, you can make your doors more efficient by adding new or used storm doors.

So far, we’ve seen a few ways to make a window or door more efficient, but there’s also a few ways to use windows and doors more efficiently. For example, any time you’re running your air conditioner or furnace, be sure all your windows, storm windows and doors are closed and locked. By locking your windows and doors, you get the tightest possible seal and minimize air leaks. During the winter months, try to keep your curtains and shades closed. This will add an extra layer of insulation to your windows and keep your house warmer. But, there’s one exception to this rule. If it’s sunny on a cold winter day, you may want to open up any shades that let sunlight in, especially on the south side of your home. Sunlight can really help to warm up your house so try to take advantage of that solar power during the winter months if you can.

On the other hand, during the hot summer months, you’ll want to keep sunlight out so keep your shades closed during the day, especially on the east and west sides of your house where sunlight is at its brightest. Better yet, stop the sun from getting inside by shading the outside with trees or awnings, especially on the east and west sides. Shade trees will keep your home several degrees cooler in the summer so it’s definitely a good idea to add a few if possible.

Windows and doors can be one of the least efficient parts of the home. However, there are many things we can do to make a difference such as installing high efficiency, ENERGY STAR qualified windows or installing storm windows or plastic on existing windows. Even simple things like opening or closing shades can help keep your home more comfortable and keep your energy dollars from going right out the window.

Getting A Head Start On Home Energy Usage and Efficiency

It seems like the price of energy keeps going up. As a result, many people are learning to reduce their energy costs by using energy more efficiently. In this module we’ll discuss several ways to be more energy efficient so you can save money on your utility bills. But before we look at what we can save, let’s first look at what we spend. The largest part of the average utility bill is spent on heating and cooling. According to the US Department of Energy the typical home uses about 34% of their total energy for heating and about 11% for cooling. Refrigerators account for about 8%, while lighting, electronics, and other appliances make up about 34%. Finally, water heaters use about 13% of the total energy cost in our homes. Throughout this module we’ll see how you can use less energy in each of these areas.

Section A, heating and cooling. As we’ve seen heating and cooling uses more energy than anything else in your home. As a result, it’s also the area where you can save the most. To begin we’ll look at the winter months and see how you can save money, yet stay comfortable during the coldest months of the year. You may be surprised how much money you can save with just a slight change to your thermostat. In fact, during the winter months you can save up to 5% on your heating bill for every degree you lower the indoor temperature. For example by lowering your thermostat just five degrees your heating bill could drop by 25%.

During the winter we recommend setting your thermostat to 68 degrees during the day if you’re at home, and at 63 degrees when you’re asleep or away from home, unless you need the temperature higher for medical reasons. It’s a good idea to turn the temperature down at night since you’ll save energy and money while you sleep. If you don’t think you’ll remember to turn the temperature down, you can always buy a programmable thermostat to change these temperature settings for you automatically. Make sure you buy the programmable thermostat that’s suited to the type of central system you have, and if you have room by room heating with individual room control, set it back or turn it off in rooms you’re not using.

Finally, if you’re going to be away from home for several days or longer during the winter months, we recommend setting your thermostat to 55 degrees. If you shut your heating system off completely and your house gets too cold, water in your interior pipes can freeze and cause them to break. By setting your thermostat to 55 degrees you’ll still save a lot of money on your utility bill, but your house probably won’t get cold enough to freeze your water pipes. If you rent it’s a good idea to talk to your landlord or building professional before setting your thermostat this low.
Now let’s skip ahead a few months from winter to summer. During the hot summer months only run your air conditioner when it’s necessary. In the evening or on cooler summer days open up your house and use fans to bring air in. Take advantage of moderate temperatures and lower humidity when you can. After all, there’s no point in air conditioning your home if you don’t need to. When you do need to run your air conditioner, close up your house and set your thermostat to 78 degrees.

To make your house even more energy-efficient here are some additional summertime tips. Turn up the thermostat three to five degrees when you’re leaving for work or going away for a weekend. Install ceiling fans throughout your house. They can make the temperature seem about four degrees cooler inside. If you have window air conditioners, only use them in rooms where you spend most of your time. Use your stove and other heat producing appliances early in the morning or late in the evening. Remember not to adjust the thermostat to a colder temperature to cool a room quickly. The room won’t cool any faster and you’ll just end up wasting energy. Just set the thermostat to the temperature you want.

Plant trees to shade your home, especially in your east and west facing windows. In addition, evergreen or fir trees can help block cold north and west winter winds. By shading your air conditioning unit you can increase its efficiency up to 10%. Be sure that shrubs are at least two feet away from the unit so they don’t block its air circulation. Keep the hot daytime sun out of your home by using drapes, blinds, or shades on your windows. Keep lights low or off and use fluorescent lights since they produce less heat.

So far we’ve seen how you can use your heating and cooling equipment more efficiently. Next we’ll look at how to keep it running properly and safely. Without regular maintenance your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, and other equipment can become less effective or even dangerous. To keep everything running right, heating and cooling equipment should be checked and serviced every year by a qualified professional. If your furnace isn’t running properly or if you have a blocked flue pipe, it could spread dangerous carbon monoxide through your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas, which can kill. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea are easily overlooked since they can seem like the flu. To protect yourself and your family you should install carbon monoxide alarms on each level of your home and check them every few months. But even with these alarms it’s still very important to schedule a professional inspection of your heating and cooling equipment each year.

In addition to the yearly inspection, you’ll also need to clean or replace the air filters in your system fairly often. Changing these filters is quick, inexpensive, and easy enough to do yourself. Check your heating and cooling system filter each month, and if it’s dirty, replace it. If you are a renter, be sure to ask your landlord who’s responsible for cleaning or changing these filters. Also, since home heating and cooling equipment needs good air flow to work properly and safely, you’ll need to keep the area around your equipment clear. In particular, if you have a furnace or hot water heater in a closed area or closet, you’ll need to be sure that air can get to that unit easily.

To get the most out of your equipment it’s also a good idea to have your ductwork inspected. If you have a central heating or cooling system, conditioned air moves through the ductwork to each room in your house. If ducts don’t move air properly or aren’t well insulated, you end up paying to heat or cool air that doesn’t go to the right place. Some homes leak 15 to 20% of their conditioned air into attics, crawl spaces, walls, basements, and garages, which can add hundreds of dollars a year to your utility bills.

To keep your air distribution system working efficiently, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect and test your ductwork for leaks. If you want, you can even do some of the repair work yourself. For example, leaking duct seams are easy to fix. Although some people use regular duct tape to patch ductwork it’s not a good idea since there are much better products available these days. The proper way to seal joints, seams, and gaps in your ductwork is to either use mastic, which is a thick paste or Underwriters Laboratory approved foil backed duct tape. Some parts of your ductwork may be difficult to get to, but don’t ignore these areas. Instead, have a qualified professional seal any ducts you can’t fix yourself.

If you have ducts in unconditioned areas such as crawl spaces or attics, you should not only have them checked for leaks, but you should also have them insulated. Keep in mind however that during the winter months insulated ducts will not heat up your attic or crawl space the way they used to. This means that if you have water or drain pipes in the attic or crawl space, they’ll be more likely to freeze and crack. So if your attic or crawl space has water pipes, you’ll want to talk to a professional before insulating any nearby ducts. If you rent, be sure to ask your landlord if these things have already been taken care of.

Finally, after inspecting, sealing, and insulating your ductwork, be careful not to block the air flow from the air vents, radiators, or baseboard heaters. After working hard to have efficient ductwork, the last thing you want to do is block your vents. Air systems work more efficiently when all the vents are open and unblocked. This will give you an even flow of air throughout your rooms. Air deflectors and extenders are also available if you want to direct the air in a certain direction.

So far we’ve talked about the maintenance of your heating and cooling equipment. But before we finish, it’s important to note that even with the best maintenance this equipment won’t last forever. Eventually these units will need to be replaced. When you do decide to buy new heating or cooling equipment, look for Energy Guide labels to compare efficiencies and purchase the most efficient model you can afford.

As we’ve seen, heating and cooling accounts for almost half of the energy used in our homes, but with a few simple actions such as lowering thermostat settings in the winter, raising settings in the summer, changing or cleaning furnace filters regularly, and repairing ductwork you can dramatically improve your home’s energy efficiency. To keep your heating and cooling equipment running properly and safely, have it checked regularly, and if you’re purchasing anything new, look for the Energy Star logo and Energy Guide labels. With these tips you’ll be on your way to having a truly efficient and comfortable home.

Home Insulation And Saving On Home Energy Bills

We’ve been looking at various ways to weatherize your home. So far, we’ve seen how to seal air leaks with caulk, and weather-stripping. In the third and final section on weatherization, we’ll discuss insulation.

Insulation acts like a blanket to keep warm air inside your home during the winter, and warm air out during the summer. If you don’t have enough insulation, or it’s not installed properly, you could be wasting money on your heating and cooling bills. To see if your home has enough insulation, you can turn to the charts in your energy savers guide. To find out more about insulating your home, you can contact community action agency weatherization programs, utility companies, the state energy office, or building professionals. If you rent, talk to your landlord about the amount of insulation in your home or apartment.

Sometimes, even if you have enough insulation, it may have gaps that make it less effective. If possible, do an inspection of the insulation in your home, especially in your attic. Gaps usually occur around pipes and electrical wire, so pay close attention to those areas. Oftentimes, as air escapes, it leaves dirt on the insulation. If you see an area that looks dirty, it’s a good sign that you have a gap you need to fix. If necessary, take care of the gap with filler material, such as expanding foam, and then, cover it back up so the insulation fits together nicely.If you find a spot that needs some extra insulation, cut a piece to fit and slide it in without bunching it up. Bunched-up insulation isn’t very effective, so try to cut any fill pieces to be exactly the size you need. Also, as you’re adding insulation, be careful not to put it anywhere that could cause problems, such as over soffit vents or too close to a hot chimney. Also, some recessed lights, if covered with insulation, can get hot and cause an electrical short or fire. If you’re unsure about how to properly install your insulation, check with a professional.

If you find a spot that needs some extra insulation, cut a piece to fit and slide it in without bunching it up. Bunched-up insulation isn’t very effective, so try to cut any fill pieces to be exactly the size you need. Also, as you’re adding insulation, be careful not to put it anywhere that could cause problems, such as over soffit vents or too close to a hot chimney. Also, some recessed lights, if covered with insulation, can get hot and cause an electrical short or fire. If you’re unsure about how to properly install your insulation, check with a professional.Most homes have air leaks, but as we’ve seen, there are simple and inexpensive things you can do to keep your home comfortable. Homes can be sealed using low-cost caulk and weather-stripping, and insulation can be added or repaired to make your home more energy-efficient. With just a little effort, you can keep the weather out and the comfort in.

Most homes have air leaks, but as we’ve seen, there are simple and inexpensive things you can do to keep your home comfortable. Homes can be sealed using low-cost caulk and weather-stripping, and insulation can be added or repaired to make your home more energy-efficient. With just a little effort, you can keep the weather out and the comfort in.

 

 

Weatherization Assistance Program for Low-Income Persons

Weatherization Assistance Program for Low-Income Persons – Most homes have air leaks. One of the easiest and quickest ways to cut energy waste in your home is to seal those leaks. In fact, about one-third of the air that moves through your home enters or exits through cracks in ceilings, walls, floors and the foundation. In your energy savers booklet, we see a chart demonstrating where air enters or exists from your home. Notice that your floors, walls, and ceiling account for 31% of air loss while air ducts make up about 15%. Gaps around doors and windows make up around 21% and gaps around plumbing are responsible for about 13% of home air loss.Now let’s start finding those air leaks by inspecting your home. To begin, close all your doors and windows, then turn on your dryer or a vent fan. This will create a partial vacuum in the house and cause outside air to come in

Now let’s start finding those air leaks by inspecting your home. To begin, close all your doors and windows, then turn on your dryer or a vent fan. This will create a partial vacuum in the house and cause outside air to come in any way it can. Professionals may use smoke pencils or puffers to find air leaks, however, you can use the back of your hand to test around doors, windows, attic hatches, crawlspace entries and any place plumbing and utilities enter the home. If you think an area may have a leak, check it out. You’ll be able to feel air moving in.

In addition, you can test door and window gaps with a small piece of paper. Close the door or window on the paper and see if it pulls out easily. If it does, you may have a gap that needs weatherstripping. For a more thorough examination of your home, you can have a professional look for leaks as part of an energy audit. Ask your utility company, local services agencies or community action agency programs if inspection services are available and how much they cost or if you rent, talk to your landlord about air leakage.Now that we’ve seen where the problem areas are, let’s look at how to fix them. We’ll look at three ways to seal leaks and reduce heat loss. Caulking, weatherstripping and insulating.

Now that we’ve seen where the problem areas are, let’s look at how to fix them. We’ll look at three ways to seal leaks and reduce heat loss. Caulking, weather stripping and insulating.

We’ve been talking about weatherization. Now we’ll look at one specific type of weatherization, caulking.

Caulk is used to seal holes and cracks in your home. There are many different types of caulk, so be sure to read the label and use the right product for your project. The most common way to buy caulk is in tubes like these, which are used in caulking guns. But you can also buy caulk in rope form, in spray cans, and in squeeze tubes.Once you have what you need, you can start filling in any leaks you found during your inspection. If you rent, talk to your landlord before doing any caulking or weatherstripping.

Once you have what you need, you can start filling in any leaks you found during your inspection. If you rent, talk to your landlord before doing any caulking or weatherstripping.
To apply caulk from a tube, place it in a caulk gun. Cut off the tip. Pierce the tube seal, and squeeze the trigger a few times to lay down a long consistent strip. Then smooth it with a plastic spoon or your finger to fill the gap entirely and seal edges. If any crack is wider than about a fourth of an inch, use rope caulk, Backer Rod, or some other good fill material to plug it first. Then use regular caulk to fill in any remaining gaps.If you have any cracks or gaps around your door and window frames, be sure to fill them in, both on the inside and the outside. Be sure not to caulk your windows or doors shut or caulk the weep holes shut.

If you have any cracks or gaps around your door and window frames, be sure to fill them in, both on the inside and the outside. Be sure not to caulk your windows or doors shut or caulk the weep holes shut.Look around your home’s foundation, and fill in any cracks you see there, too. Also, caulk around all pipes, vents, and other openings, but be sure not to seal or block any air intakes or exhaust vents. Remember that most homes need a place to bring in

Look around your home’s foundation, and fill in any cracks you see there, too. Also, caulk around all pipes, vents, and other openings, but be sure not to seal or block any air intakes or exhaust vents. Remember that most homes need a place to bring in fresh air and get rid of dangerous gasses, pollutants, and moisture.

As you caulk, be aware that blocking air intakes or exhaust vents can be dangerous, so be sure you don’t do anything to keep them from working properly. Also, if you’re caulking around a pipe or chimney, use caulk made for high temperatures.

Inside your home, caulk any cracks that may leak air into the attic or garage. If you need to, use an expanding foam to fill in large cavities. With these types of foam, it’s a good idea to look for one that doesn’t expand very much. Some high expansion foams can actually expand so much that they stop windows or doors from opening properly. Be sure to read the label before you buy or use these products.

Now that we’ve seen how to seal up some common household leaks, let’s move on to weatherstripping.

Doors and windows have moving parts that need to open and close freely. Unfortunately, this means they also have natural gaps, which let air escape from your home. To keep your windows and doors sealed as tightly as possible, it’s important to use weatherstripping.Chances are you probably already have

Chances are you probably already have to weatherstrip throughout your house, but it may be damaged or worn. Over time, these products can become less and less effective, so it’s important to check them once each year. If you can feel air coming in around your doors, windows, or attic hatch, your weatherstripping needs to be replaced. Fortunately, most types are easy to install, either with sticky adhesive, or with nails, screws, or pre-punched holes. Be sure you buy the right kind and size of weatherstripping for the job, and as you work, read and follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

If you rent and aren’t able to permanently fix leaky windows and doors, you can use flexible foam Backer Rod, and wedge it into the cracks. If you move, you can even take it with you.
After you’ve sealed your doors and windows, you may want to do the same thing to the electrical light switches and outlets on your exterior walls. Insulated foam gaskets are available to fit between the cover plate and the switch or outlet.First go to your home’s electrical panel, and shut off the electricity to the area. Next unscrew the cover plate, and put the gasket over the switch or outlet. When you’re finished, screw the cover plate back on, and turn on the electricity.

First go to your home’s electrical panel, and shut off the electricity to the area. Next unscrew the cover plate, and put the gasket over the switch or outlet. When you’re finished, screw the cover plate back on, and turn on the electricity.

Screwing In Light Bulb May Be All You Need To Do Save On Your Electrical Bill

Sometimes, lowering your electric bill can be as easy as screwing in a light bulb. About 11% of your energy bill is used to light your home, but you can cut that amount by 75% simply by replacing your incandescent light bulbs with energy star qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs will not only save you energy but they also last six to ten times longer than old fashion bulbs. In fact, even though they may cost more initially, a single compact fluorescent bulb can save you $25 or more over its life. Compact fluorescents use less energy to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs and they create less heat. They now also come in warm light tones and many styles.

You will however want to be careful when handling or disposing of these bulbs since they contain a small amount of mercury. The proper way to throw out a compact fluorescent light bulb is to put it in double plastic bag, seal both bags, and then put it in your trash. Unless your community has other requirements. You can find more information on compact florescent bulbs including the safest way to clean up broken bulbs on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website at www.epa.gov. Or by contacting your local electric utility or extension office.

In addition to compact fluorescent light bulbs, you may have heard about a new even more efficient type of light bulb called an LED, or Light Emitting Diode. You can find LEDs right now in traffic lights and some small consumer products such as flashlights and nightlights. Some LED nightlights even have a light sensor so they only turn on when they’re needed.

As we’ve seen, many new lighting products can make your home more efficient, but no matter what type of lighting you have, you can save money by turning lights off when you don’t need them. During the day open curtains to make the most of natural daylight. At night avoid lighting large areas, instead try to light only the task you’re doing. When it comes to lighting, you can save quite a bit if you just remember to “Cut the juice when not in use.”

Big Appliances Can Help You Save On Energy Cost

We’ve spent some time talking about smaller electronics in your home. Now let’s move on to some of the larger appliances. Just how much energy do your household appliances use? For most households, appliances make up about 20% of all home energy usage. That’s why using energy-efficient appliances can go a long way toward reducing your energy bills. When you’re buying appliances, keep in mind that they actually have two price tags. The cost to purchase and the cost to operate. For example, an Energy Star qualified refrigerator can save you more than $35 per year on your electric bill and an Energy Star qualified clothes washer can save you nearly $60 per year. Since major appliances can often last more than 10 years, the energy savings can really add up over time.

Although we’ve mentioned the Energy Star label several times already, we haven’t really said what it means. The Energy Star label shows that a product meets the energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. In other words, by purchasing a product with the Energy Star label, you know you’re getting a more energy-efficient model compared to other similar models.

While shopping for new appliances, it’s also a good idea to look for EnergyGuide labels like this one. These labels can be very useful since they give you a pretty good idea of what it costs to run that appliance over the course of a year and obviously, the less it costs to run an appliance, the better. At this time, we’ll look at several ways to use your appliances more efficiently. Specifically, we’ll look at the appliances in your home that use the most energy. Your refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, and stove.

Refrigerators and Freezers. Set your refrigerator between 37 and 40 degrees and your freezer at 0 degrees. Make sure the door seals are air-tight. Leaking air can dramatically lower energy efficiency. When you’re looking for something to eat, only keep the door open for a short time. Vacuum the coils with a soft brush attachment every three to six months, this will help your refrigerator or freezer run better and more efficiently. If you need to defrost your freezer manually, do it often. Frost build up of more than a quarter of an inch, can make your freezer less efficient. Don’t put a refrigerator or freezer on your porch or in a garage. Also, it’s a good idea to keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources, like your oven. Remember, if you’re refrigerator gets hot, it has to work harder to keep your food cold.

Washers and Dryers. Most of the energy used to wash clothes, comes from heating the water. You can easily make your washing machine more efficient by avoiding hot water and instead using warm or cold water for washing and rinsing. Hot water, however, may still be needed for heavily soiled loads or if you have an illness in the family. For some items washed in warm or cold water, you may want to add a disinfectant such as chlorine bleach, if hot water is not used. If possible, wash only full loads of laundry. Washing one large load uses less energy than washing several small loads. If you have to wash a small load, adjust your washing machine to use less water.

If you can, dry your clothes outdoors on a clothesline or drying rack. You can avoid wrinkles by hanging your clothes in the bathroom while you shower. If you use a dryer, try to fill it, but not overload it. If you need to do two loads, do the second load right after the first one while the dryer is still warm. Clean the lint filter in your dryer after each load and occasionally check the outside exhaust for any clogs. Don’t put your dryer in an unconditioned area, such as a garage or front porch. Naturally, if your dryer is cold it has to work harder to warm your wet clothes. If you’re looking for a new washer, energy-saving clothes washers use 35 to 50% less water and use about 50% less energy per load.

Dishwashers. Washing dishes by hand may use more water than washing in the dishwasher, especially if you let the water run as you wash. Scrape off excess food before loading dishes in dishwashers. Pre-rinsing dishes isn’t usually necessary and may be a waste of water. Try to only wash full loads in the dishwasher. Run the machine when it’s full, but not overloaded. The rinse/hold setting on the dishwasher uses from three to seven gallons of hot water each time it’s used. Don’t use this setting when you only need to clean a few dishes.
10% of the energy used in dish washing can be saved by not using the dry cycle. Instead, just let the dishes air dry. Newer water-efficient models average six to seven gallons per load versus 14 or more in older models.

Ovens and Ranges. If you’re cooking small meals, don’t heat up the entire oven. Instead, save time and energy by using a stove top burner, an electric frying pan, a crock pot, or the microwave. If you need to preheat your oven, don’t let it warm up longer than necessary. Set a timer so you’ll know when it’s ready to use. While cooking, don’t check on your food too often. Every time you open the Garage Door, you waste heat and energy. Also, using covered pans will make food cook faster. For efficiency, try to cook several items in the oven at the same time. Finally, never use the oven to heat your kitchen. Heating your home with an oven is not only inefficient, but it can be dangerous.
Since appliances use about 20% of our home energy, it’s a good idea to make them as efficient as we can by purchasing Energy Star qualified appliances and using them economically, you can make sure your hard-earned money works hard for you.

 

Electronics and Appliances Need To Be Turned Off Completely

How many of your electronic devices are still on even after you turn them off? Many appliances and electronics, such as your computer, VCR, TV, stereo, and cellphone charger, still use some power even after you’ve turned them off. In fact, up to 70% of the power used by electronics is drawn while their turned off, but still plugged in. When devices, like cellphone chargers, aren’t being used, consider unplugging them, or to make it even easier to shut down electronics, think about using a power strip. To further reduce the energy we waste, it’s a good idea to purchase Energy Star qualified devices and, in particular, to look for devices with power management features. For example, some printers with automatic power down features can reduce their power usage by 65%. If you have a computer, be sure to have it automatically go into sleep mode when you’re not using it or, better yet, shut it off completely.

 

Water Heater Up Keep Keeps Your Energy Money From Going Down The Drain Plumbing in Omaha NE

Water heaters use about 30% of your Omaha NE home’s energy. In most homes, a water heater works all day long, heating gallons and gallons of water so you’ll have hot water whenever you need it. Although this is very convenient, it’s not very efficient. But there are ways to reduce how much energy your water heater uses.

One easy way is to turn down its temperature. Each 10-degree reduction will save you 3-5% on your water heating bill. Many older water heaters in and around Omaha NE came preset as high as 140 degrees. But for most household use, 120 degrees is hot enough, so if you can handle a slightly lower water temperature, you could save some money by turning down the heat. If possible, it’s also a good idea to insulate your hot water pipes, especially the ones within four feet of the water heater. If you insulate your pipes, try to use either preformed foam insulation or wrap around fiberglass.

Finally, one of the best ways to lower your water heating costs is by simply less hot water. As we saw in the last section, a good first step is to buy efficient appliances and use them economically. Also, you can save water by taking a short five-minute shower rather than a bath. To make your showers even more efficient, install low-flow shower heads which can cut shower water usage by 30%. By installing aerating kitchen and bathroom faucets, you can reduce the water they use by about 60%.

As you probably already know, when you use your faucets, it’s a good idea to only leave the water on when you need it. You’d be surprised how many gallons of water you can save by shutting off the water when you shave or brush your teeth. Finally, if you have any leaking pipes or faucets, take care of them as soon as you can. A slow drip or leak can waste more than 100 gallons of water a week, so if you can, repair the leak yourself, or have a plumber like American Rooter do it for you.

If you rent, tell your landlord about water leaks as soon as you see them. It’s easy to reduce the amount of energy we use by turning down the thermostat on the water heater, insulating water lines, and simply using less hot water. Taking short showers rather than baths, installing low-flow shower heads, and faucet aerators can also reduce the energy you use. With these water energy efficiency tips, you can keep your money from going right down the drain.

Liheap Bulletin March 2012

States React to Milder Weather, Increased Funding

At the winter meeting of the National Energy Assistance Director’s Association February 28 and 29, most of the states attending or submitting status reports said the warmer weather had not resulted in a decrease in LIHEAP applications compared to last year.

Reports on LIHEAP from newspaper articles around the country also indicate that need for energy assistance remains strong and local administering agencies are spending their LIHEAP allotments quickly.

Two states that did report decreases in applications, Colorado and Nevada, attributed them to lower income eligibility levels that these states had implemented at the start of the program year.

Some states reported revising their programs as a result of a federal budget that was larger than originally expected. For example, a few states increased their LIHEAP benefits from the levels they had announced at the beginning of the heating season, before federal funding levels were finalized. Colorado increased its benefit from $300 to $344; Connecticut provided an additional $140 payment to an estimated 55,610 utility-heated households, and 23,334 households heating with delivered fuel were eligible for an additional $400. The program’s end date was extended from March 15 to May 1, and to May 15 for utility-heated customers at risk of disconnection.

New York will issue a supplemental payment of $150 to all 2012 LIHEAP recipients that pay for heat directly, and it moved its program end date from March 16 to April 13. Oregon is taking applicants off its waiting list and starting a new list, thereby opening LIHEAP up to more households. Several states reported seeing more applicants facing energy crises.

Massachusetts and Vermont received additional energy assistance money through their state legislatures, Vermont in late December and Massachusetts in late February. As a result, Vermont increased its average benefit to $935, from the previously announced $474; Massachusetts increased its maximum benefit for households using heating oil and other delivered fuels to $1,065 from the $675 it had announced earlier in the year.

Illinois has a new statewide PIPP that is taking the pressure off LIHEAP funds because clients can choose whether it is better for them to be enrolled in the PIPP or to receive a LIHEAP payment. Alaska, for the fifth year in a row, has received state funding, which it uses to help families at 150 to 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, while LIHEAP helps those below 150 FPG.

However, regardless of additional funding, the Northeast states are struggling due to historically high costs of heating oil, which averaged $4.12 per gallon for the first week in March in Massachusetts and $3.86 in Maine, which reported an increasing number of crisis applications and a lower LIHEAP benefit this year. A Vermont agency reported increased applications and said that many families will continue to face challenges despite the infusion of additional federal funds and state funds. Read More