“Tips for Energy Conservation,” Ensign, Sept. 1998, 70–71
These 10 steps can help you save money on utility bills and conserve energy.
Check your attic for adequate insulation. While the amount required by building codes varies in different areas, most attics should have enough insulation to qualify for an R-30 insulation rating. If you have less than four inches of insulation, consider adding more.
If acceptable to you, set your thermostat below 70° F (21° C) when heating a home or above 75° F (24° C) when using air-conditioning. You can save significant amounts of energy if you are willing to wear more clothing in the winter and less in the summer until you learn to adjust to the new settings.
Check the seal around the door of your refrigerator. To find out if it is properly tight, place a dollar bill between the seal and the door. If you can easily pull out the dollar bill, replace the seal.
Use fluorescent lightbulbs in place of regular bulbs. While such bulbs cost more, they generally last several years and use less than half the electricity of incandescent bulbs.
Install flow resistors in all sink faucets and shower heads.
Once a month:
Vacuum dust from the coils at the bottom and back of your refrigerator. This helps it run more efficiently.
Replace the filter in your furnace or air conditioner.
Draw a gallon of water from the spigot located at the bottom of most water heaters. This will allow mineral buildup to be drained off and will prolong the life of your water heater.
Water lawns early in the morning because the heat of the day evaporates 20 to 30 percent of your water. Also, a lawn actually uses less water if it isn’t cut short. Longer blades shade the turf. Consider setting the height of the mower blade to about three inches.
Use grass clippings to mulch around the base of trees and shrubs to cut their water needs by 50 percent.
Use an insulated jacket around a water heater to reduce costs, especially if the water heater is located in a cold garage. When building a home, insulate the hot-water pipes to save even more. Exposed hot-water pipes in existing homes can be covered with insulation materials that have a horizontal slit in them, thus allowing them to be slipped around the pipes.
Check with your local utility company. Some will conduct an energy audit for free or for a modest fee. The audit will show what kinds of inexpensive repairs you can make around your home to cut down on your utility bills.—Jerry Mason, Lubbock, Texas