Energy Savings Ideas

Murfreesboro Electric Department and TVA share a commitment to help you manage your energy use. Here you’ll find some tried and true tips you can use every day. Of course, we’re already enjoying some of the lowest electricity rates in the country with our power produced right here in the Tennessee Valley. Read on to learn more about how to make the most of your energy dollar.

It may sound strange, but vacuuming the coils on your refrigerator every three months will keep the condenser running better and energy costs running lower. You’d be surprised what drapes can save you too. But we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. It will probably help you to look at the bigger picture first. Let’s start with the area that can save you the most — heating and air conditioning.

1. If you’re gone for an extended period, leave your air conditioner off. Don’t pay to keep your furniture nice and cool.

2. Keep air conditioner filters clean. Aluminum mesh filters may be washed. Fiberglass filters should be replaced.

3. Keep air vents clear of obstructions.

4. Close the drapes on the sunny side of the house during the day.

5. Leave storm windows and doors in place when the air conditioner is on.

6. Set the thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature. We’re not suggesting you break a sweat, but even a 1° change can save you money.

7. If you cool with window units, place them on the north side of the house when possible, clear vents of obstructions, shut doors to unused rooms, and close floor or wall registers used for heating.

You can also take the heat off your winter power bills by making some simple adjustments, like closing the damper in your fireplace when it’s not in use. Make sure it’s open again before trying to light a fire.

8. Set the thermostat back to 55° if you’re gone for a few days. That will keep the pipes from freezing.

9. When you’re home, keep the thermostat at the lowest comfortable temperature.

10. Keep all doors and windows closed when the heat is on. Ask your kids to read this paragraph out load seven times. Doors and windows should stay closed even if you have storm windows and doors on the outside.

11. Open drapes on the sunny side of the house. Close them at night.

12. Keep heating vents clear of obstructions.

13. Turn off heat and close doors to unused rooms if you have individual room heat. Close doors and vents to unused rooms if you have a central system other than a heat pump. Of course, if you don’t have a heat pump, demand to know more about them. In fact, make sure to read our heat pump information page.

14. Be sure you have an energy-efficient electric water heater. To check, just read the label, or call us.

15. Set the water heater thermostat at 140 degrees if you have an electric dishwasher or 120 degrees if you do not. Always turn off the circuit breaker before you adjust the thermostat on an electric water heater.

16. Insulate the pipes going into and out of the tank. Add an insulated blanket around your water heater if it’s an older model.

17. Turn the water heater off when you’re gone longer than a weekend.

18. Wash full loads of clothes in the coolest water possible. Rinse clothes in cold water.

19. A low-flow shower head can reduce water use by 50-70 percent.

20. Fix leaky faucets. One drip per second equals 200 gallons a month.

21. Drain a gallon of water once a year through the faucet at the bottom of the water heater. That removes sediment that decreases energy efficiency.

22. Run the dishwasher only when it’s full.

23. Using lighting, TV’s, stereos and radios (not to mention that computer) responsibly can save money.

24. Compact fluorescent lamps can replace bulbs in most table lamps and will save up to 75 percent in lighting energy, produce more light and last up to 10 times longer.

25. For more light, use one large bulb rather than several small ones. A 100-watt bulb produces more light with less energy than two 60-watt bulbs.

26. Tungsten-halogen incandescent bulbs cut lighting costs by 15 percent.

27. Use low-watt bulbs where lighting is not critical.

28. Dimmer switches are actually smarter.

29. Place floor lamps and hanging lamps in corners. The reflection off the walls will give you more light.

30. Take advantage of the daylight.

31. Turn off outdoor lighting during the day.

32. Turn off all lights, TV’s stereos, and radios if no one will be in the room.

Bonus Tip For Visiting Us On The Web:
Is that computer a “Green Machine?” If you leave your computer on even when you’re not sitting in front of it (answering machines, faxes, etc.), be sure to select a machine that meets the EPA’s “Energy Star” requirements. These computers will have a special logo and the amazing ability to save both the environment and your money at the same time. It’s worth looking into.

33. Standing in front of an open refrigerator while you decide what you want wastes a lot of energy. The refrigerator and freezer account for 8 cents of every electric dollar. Look for energy efficient models with features like power-saver switches and improved insulation. Then try some of these tips.

34. You know about the vacuuming thing already.

35. Keep the temperature between 36o and 40o in the refrigerator and 0o and 5o in the freezer. Use a refrigerator / freezer thermometer to check the settings.

36. Cool foods to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator unless the recipe specifies otherwise.

37. Place the refrigerator away from the stove, dishwasher, heat vents, and direct sunlight. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the amount of air space needed around the refrigerator.

38. Keep the freezer full. The fuller the freezer, the less cold air you lose when opening the door.

39. Defrost manual-defrost refrigerators or freezers when the frost becomes 1/4″ thick.

40. There are several nifty little suggestions you can follow in the kitchen to save even more. Like selecting flat-bottomed pans that fit the heating units. And using lids to retain heat and decrease cooking time.

41. Plan meals so several things can cook at the same time in the oven. Avoid opening the door until the food is done.

42. Try using a pressure cooker. It can cut the cooking time of a regular pot on a burner by one-third.

43. While the microwave is great for re-heating leftovers, takeout foods or cooking a single dish, a conventional oven may be more economical if you’re cooking several items.

43. Baking or microwaving defrosted food uses one-third less energy than starting with frozen food.

44. If you’re going to clean your oven, use the self-cleaning cycle right after you finish baking. That will give the self-cleaning cycle a head start in heating the oven.

45. Besides cleaning your lint filter after every load, make sure you dry full loads of clothes without overloading.

46. Stop the dryer as soon as cloths are dry, or use the moisture sensor control to automatically shut off the dryer. Overdrying wastes energy and sets in wrinkles.

47. Dry loads one right after another. You’ll use less energy because the dryer is already heated.

48. Select a cycle with no final drying time or stop the dishwasher after the final rinse.

49. It’s always a good idea to hang on to appliance manuals so you can refer to them for care information and possible energy saving tips.

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