Goodbye winter, hello spring! In Minnesota, we especially feel a sense of renewal and growth during the spring. Why not capitalize on that feeling and launch your Power of One® action plan for getting the most for your energy dollars?
Here are a few tips for conserving energy during the spring:
- Check for any winter damage to windows, caulking or sealing.
- Install outdoor motion sensor lights and make sure you are using energy-efficient lighting such as light emitting diode (LED) bulbs.
- Gear up for the warm weather ahead by tuning up or servicing your air conditioner or installing an energy-efficient air conditioning system or air source heat pump system.
- Purchase mobile fans or consider installing a ceiling fan to improve the efficiency of, or decrease the need for, your air conditioner—moving air feels cooler.
- Start your spring cleaning by dusting the condenser coils on your refrigerator and freezer.
- See 11 Simple Ways to Save for more tips.
- Plant trees, shrubs, hedges, etc. on the sunny side of your home. This will help to block the solar heat gain.
- Avoid blocking your vents with curtains, furniture, etc. This puts an extra strain on your AC unit.
At last, cabin days, barbecues, swimming and … major energy consumption. As the temperature climbs higher so does the amount of energy we use. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers all add to the amount of energy we consume.
Here are a few tips for conserving energy during the summer:
- Use a slow cooker or microwave instead of the stove.
- Set the air conditioning thermostat at 78 degrees or higher.
- Use curtains, blinds or shades to keep the sunlight out and the cool air in.
- Ventilate your attic—proper ventilation reduces temperatures and prevents moisture buildup.
- Take advantage of the Plug Load Pyramid to find ways to reduce energy waste.
- It's best to have your AC unit installed in a shaded part of your home. The hotter the unit gets, the harder it has to work to cool your home.
- Install efficient LED lighting that runs cooler. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat.
- Consider using a whole house fan. This will help to ventilate your entire home by replacing old air with fresh outdoor air.
- When the temperature cools at night, turn off the AC and open all of the windows in your home. This will help to cool your home.
- Turn off unused electronics such as TVs, computers, etc. When left on, these things use energy and generate heat. Unplugging these items is even better since many electronics use power even after they are turned off. Consider using a smart power strip in offices and home entertainment areas to make unplugging even easier.
Remember to look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing new appliances.
The leaves are changing and the air is crisp—the perfect weather to get your house ready for the winter ahead. The preparations you make now will greatly affect the efficiency of your home in the winter.
Here are a few tips for conserving energy during the fall:
- Service your furnace and give it a tune up or replace your furnace with one that has an electronically commutated motor (ECM) inside, or add an air source heat pump.
- Add weatherstripping around windows and doors.
- Caulk around pipes in places where they meet walls and floors.
Note: Take care of caulking before the cold weather starts because many caulks will not cure at cold temperatures.
- Add or improve insulation.
- Use energy-efficient light emitting diode (LED) bulbs so you’re ready for those shorter days and longer nights.
- Use metal-backed tape or duct sealant to seal any ductwork. It is especially important to seal around the seams.
Schedule a home energy analysis with a Minnesota Power representative to understand how you are currently using energy and to receive recommendations on efficiency improvements.
Thinking of building or remodeling? Consider adding energy efficiency to your remodeling plans or build Triple E standards into your new home.
Skiing, sliding, and staying warm by the fire—winter has arrived! Lower temperatures mean higher energy use.
Here are a few tips for conserving energy during the winter:
- Keep your curtains, blinds and shades open during the day to let the sunlight naturally warm your home. Close your curtains, blinds and shades at night to keep the heat in.
- Keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use.
- Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night.
- Use LED holiday lights.
- Change furnace filters regularly to keep the furnace running efficiently.
- See more energy-saving tips and tools.
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