Everyone likes to save money. We've compiled a list of simple tips to help you save on energy and keep your bill as low as possible, while also helping protect the environment.
Learn how using heat pump technology with a water heater can be two to three times more efficient and result in big savings on your electric bill.
You can reduce hot water useage substantially by repairing leaks in fixtures and pipes.
If gauges indicate the water pressure to your home is too high, consider having a plumber install a pressure-reducing valve on the main service. This valve will restrict the amount of hot water that flows from a tap, saving you energy and money.
Installing a timer, which can be set to heat water four to five hours a day or less, will result in significant monthly savings.
When installing a hot tub, insulate it well around the sides and bottom. This will help keep the water hot, reducing the amount of energy it takes to maintain the desired water temperature.
Leaky faucets waste water, energy and money. Hot water leaking at a rate of one drip per second can waste up to 1,661 gallons of water over the course of a year, and can add $35* to your power bill due to extra water heating expenses. Fixing drips is a cost-effective and easy way to save electricity and money. To further reduce your water consumption, consider installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.
* Source: energystar.gov
Save money and energy by lowering your water heater thermostat. A setting of 120° F is fine for most homes.
If your water heater is more than eight years old, chances are it is wasting energy. Today's water heaters are much more efficient, saving you energy and money.
In some climates, a solar heating system can save you energy and money by supplementing your pool and/or hot tub's electric water heater. Consult a qualified pool maintenance company to find out if solar heating is a good option for you.
If your water heater is electric and in an unconditioned space, insulate the water tank and pipes. This will reduce the amount of heat lost from the water stored in the tank. Read the installation instructions/warranty to make sure this doesn't void the warranty.
Mississippi Power can help you find ways to save money and energy. Take a free online energy checkup or schedule a free in-home energy audit today to learn how you can save up to 30 percent* on your annual bill.
Your home's thermal boundary — also called its "envelope" or "shell" — consists of its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors and floors. Sealing your home's envelope reduces drafts and helps prevent moisture problems. It can save you up to 10%* on your energy bill and keep you more comfortable during the hottest and coldest months of the year. Air sealing a home with gas appliances can cause safety issues and should be done by a professional.
* Source: energystar.gov
Highly efficient, environmentally friendly, durable and easy to maintain, a geothermal heat pump can keep your home's temperature constant while cutting your heating and cooling costs up to 50%.
* Source: energy.gov
Have your heating and cooling systems professionally serviced once a year to keep them running as efficiently as possible. If your system is older, consider installing a more efficient one.
Your attic's access point can be a common cause of energy loss and higher bills. Save energy and money by creating a simple, insulated box that sits over the frame of your attic opening.
To maintain even temperatures throughout your home, keep air vents and registers clear of obstructions such as furniture, curtains and rugs.
Lower your thermostat when large groups of people are expected during the winter. Because our bodies act as small heaters and humidifiers, a gathering will compensate for the lower setting. In fact, failing to adjust the setting will likely result in a hot, stuffy room.
Proper attic ventilation can reduce your energy consumption and increase your comfort during summer's heat and winter's chill. Natural air flow in the attic also keeps the roof decking cool and dry, extending the life of roof shingles. Be sure attic soffit, gable and ridge vents are not blocked so air flows freely through them.
Heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat and cool your home in our climate. If your heating and cooling system is more than 12 years old, consider installing a more efficient system with a higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Replacing an old unit could save you energy and money.
Your attic's plumbing stacks, vents, ductwork, electrical wires and other structural penetrations often have gaps around them, allowing the conditioned air in your home to escape into the attic. This can cause air drafts and increase your energy bill. Use caulk and spray foam sealant to fill these gaps, cracks and holes.
Seal around wiring and plumbing penetrations. Use caulk for small holes and expanding foam for larger areas. This will keep unconditioned air from entering the house or conditioned air from escaping.
Chimney, water heater or furnace flues that penetrate your attic floor, basement floor or crawlspace have gaps around them, allowing the conditioned air in your home to escape into your attic and potentially increasing your energy bill. Make your home more comfortable and energy efficient by sealing these leaks with metal flashing and high-temperature caulk. Sealing gaps around flues should be done by a professional.
Gaps in joints and at connections in your ductwork can cause your heating and cooling bills to increase by as much as 30%*. They can also allow air contaminants to enter the home. Using duct sealant — also called duct mastic — is the best way to fix the problem permanently. Consider having your duct system professionally sealed.
* Source: energy.gov
Make sure the caulk and weather stripping around your doors and windows are in good shape. If the caulk is cracked or the weather stripping is flat or peeling, replace the old material. Use caulk for small holes and expanding foam for larger areas.
Keeping conditioned air from leaking out saves you energy and money. Seal your outlets and switch plates with pre-cut foam gasket covers.
Set thermostats at 78°F in the summer and 68°F in the winter. Also consider installing a smart programmable thermostat, which will automatically adjust your home's temperature settings when you're away or sleeping — a benefit that can save you up to $100 a year.
Although it doesn't actually lower the temperature of the room, a ceiling or area fan in the summer will make the air feel up to six degrees cooler. If you have a ceiling fan with a light fixture, use low wattage LEDs for cooler light bulbs and more energy savings.
* Source: energystar.gov
Also known as standby power, phantom load refers to the electric power consumed by electronic equipment and appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode. Phantom load can be avoided by unplugging appliances — a simple solution that can save you up to $100* a year.
* Source: www.energy.gov
If you purchase a dehumidifier for your home, look for one that's earned the ENERGY STAR®. It will use less energy and can save you more than $220* in energy costs over its life. Some common indications that you need a dehumidifier are musty smells, mold and mildew, rotting wood, condensation on windows, and increased allergies.
* Source: energystar.gov
* Source: energystar.gov
You can use a small room fan or ceiling fan to circulate and distribute heated air. Ceiling fans, when reversed, can push the hot air from the ceiling to the occupied areas of the room. Remember to set fans on low speeds during the winter months.
Avoid using appliances that give off heat during the hottest times of the day as they will make your cooling system work that much harder. Cook your meals, wash your dishes and launder your clothes in the morning or in the late evening, when the demand on your cooling system is less.
Repel excess heat by using light-colored blinds, shades and draperies on the sunny side (especially the west side) of the house. Make sure draperies are insulated or lined.
If you're leaving the room that's being heated or cooled by a window- or wall-mounted unit, adjust the temperature or better yet — turn it off.
It is easy to feel the effects of a drafty door or window, but cold air can seep out of an air-conditioned home (or into a heated home) through several other surprising sources. The average un-weatherized home in the United States leaks air at a rate equivalent to a four-foot-square hole in the wall. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can save up to 30 percent on their monthly energy bills just by properly weatherizing their home.
Weatherization is typically the first place for many home owners to concentrate for the biggest benefit with the least effort and expense.
If you're looking for ways to get started weatherizing your home, the list of items below is a good place to start.
The Department of Energy suggests R30 insulation for the attic, R-19 for floors, and R-15 for walls for the majority of the Mississippi Power service area. As a reference, the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.
Even a well-insulated home can lose efficiency through air leaks, so locating and sealing those leaks can go a long way in reducing energy costs. Make sure all doors and windows are in proper working order. Inspect each door for cracks between the door and the wall. If you see light coming from the other side, the door needs to be weather-stripped. Broken windows are much harder to seal.
Seals windows airtight, eliminates condensation, cold drafts and heat loss. Install window film over windows that seem to be allowing cold air inside. Window film can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores for little money. It is clear plastic that is sealed around the window using a hair dryer to shrink the plastic.
Dryer vents and exhaust fans can whisk conditioned air out of a home and let outside air in. In homes with a kitchen exhaust fan, add a magnetic cover to prevent air from leaking in or out while the fan isn't in use. Bathroom exhaust fans should have an internal flapper damper to prevent air from coming in or out when the fan is off. Dryer vents typically have a flapper to reduce air leaks, but if the vent becomes clogged with lint, it can prevent the flapper from working properly. Check vents periodically to make sure they're free of lint, or install a dryer vent seal.
Place caulk or foam between the electrical box and drywall on switches and outlets located on exterior walls. The Department of Energy recommends installing foam gaskets behind outlet covers and switch plates for a good, airtight seal.
If you have an attic access located within your home, make sure the access door is insulated and seals tight, much like a refrigerator. Use weather-stripping and screen door latches for a snug seal.
When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue closed to prevent air from escaping.
Add-ons like recessed lighting, mail slots and wall air-conditioning units may add convenience and comfort to a home, but they also add the potential for air leaks. Caulk any gaps around mail slots, and seal around leaky light fixtures. If the insulation above a recessed light seems dirty, it's probably allowing air to escape. Remove window AC units before winter.
Promote energy conservation and child safety by keeping drafts and your child's favorite toys away from unused electrical outlets.
A family of four each showering five minutes a day can use about 700 gallons of water per week. Water conserving showerheads and faucet aerators can cut hot water use in half, saving that family 14,000 gallons of water a year.
Control the amount of water used to flush your toilet, saving hundreds of gallons of water per year.
Insulated pipes keep the hot water that exists in the pipes warmer, meaning you won't have to wait as long for hot water - reducing waste.
A water heater jacket can reduce up to 15% of the costs of heating water by preventing energy loss.
Silicone caulk helps fill cracks and gaps where air can enter or escape the home.