Simple steps can yield big energy cost-savings

Help with energy costs is available in South King County

As temperatures start to cool off and the days get shorter, energy costs start increasing for most of us.

The good news? A few simple steps can help you use energy more efficiently and conserve energy.

Energy efficiency means using less energy to do the same function. For example, a simple way to become more energy-efficient is to change your lighting.

  • Replace your five most-used light fixtures or bulbs with ENERGY STAR® products.
  • Replace standard bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. CFLs are more energy-efficient than regular bulbs and give off the same amount of light. Make sure you get the right size and type for your light fixture.

Energy conservation means changing the way you do things to use less energy. This can be as simple as remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Some other ways to conserve energy include:

  • Unplug your electronics. Even when turned off, electronics can still use energy. This includes battery chargers, as many draw power continuously, even when the device is not plugged into the charger. A helpful tip is to plug all your electronics into a power strip. When you turn the power strip off, you also “unplug” everything else.
  • Reduce your water heater temperature to 120 degrees. It will save you money and keep water hot enough for showers and cleaning dishes.
  • When doing laundry, always wash with cold water, avoid over-drying your clothes, and wash and dry several loads at once so your dryer isn’t completely cooled down when it heats up for the next load.
  • Don’t block air vents with drapes and furniture. Cover bare floors with carpeting or rugs.
  • Set your thermostat to 68 to 70 degrees during the day and 65 to 68 degrees at night, and make sure it’s on “auto.” If you’re cold, raise the temperature slowly – quickly raising the heat runs the furnace harder and uses significant energy, costing you more.

While these may seem like small things, they all add up to potentially provide significant savings.

If you live in South King County and need assistance with your energy costs, Multi-Service Center may be able to help. To see if you qualify visit mschelps.org/gethelp/energy.

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