On the Energy Front:
Celebrate Energy Awareness Month this October by Saving Energy
By: Andy Farmer
As temperatures begin to cool this fall, we once again recognize October as Energy Awareness Month. We’re joining the U.S. Department of Energy and other groups to highlight the importance of energy and help Virginians become more conscious of their home energy use. Energy use at home fluctuates as the seasons change, so it’s important to prepare for colder weather to optimize your energy use.
Virginia Energy Sense (VES) is the Commonwealth’s energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission. Virginia set a goal to reduce electric energy consumption 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2022, and the VES program’s mission is to help Virginians understand and reduce their energy use to help work toward this goal. To jump start your energy saving efforts during October and the upcoming winter, we’ve compiled several tips and recommendations below.
Fall Energy Saving Tips
Replace or clean furnace filters once a month. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use.
Insulate your water heater pipes. Using pipe insulation available from your local hardware store, insulate the first five feet of pipe coming out of the top of your water heater. If the whole length of exposed pipe between the water heater and the wall is less than five feet, insulate the full length.
Weatherize your home by caulking and weather-stripping all doors and windows. Also, use locks on your windows to make them tighter and draft resistant. According to the Department of Energy, if you reduce drafts in your home you can cut your energy bill by as much as 30%.
Keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to prevent your heating unit from working twice as hard to warm the space.
Lower your water heater’s maximum temperature to approximately 120 degrees. This could produce savings of 7-11% on water heating costs.
Consider installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats automatically raise or lower the temperature in your home based on your habits. If you plan on leaving your home for most of the day, lower the thermostat by a few degrees before you head out.
Energy Awareness Month is an important time of year to reflect on how you use energy and make necessary improvements to your home or business to lower the amount of energy you use. If you would like to learn more about easy, cost effective ways to reduce your energy consumption, visit virginiaenergysense.org and our YouTube page.
Author: Andy Farmer is the manager of Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth’s statewide energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)