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Easy Energy Savers

Control heating and cooling costs
Looking for simple ways to cut your utility bills? Try our easy heating and air conditioning energy savers.
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Looking for simple ways to cut your utility bills? Try our easy heating and air conditioning energy savers:

Heating your home

  • Change or clean your furnace filter once a month. Dust and dirt can quickly clog vital parts, making your furnace run harder and eventually break down.
  • Have your heating system inspected regularly - especially if it's natural gas. A $50-100 annual tune-up can help reduce your heating costs by up to five percent.
  • Change furnace filter monthlyIf you have a forced-air furnace, do NOT close off heat registers in unused rooms. Your furnace is designed to heat a specific square footage of space and can't sense a register is closed - it will continue working at the same pace. In addition, the cold air from unheated rooms can escape into the rest of the house, reducing the effectiveness of all your insulating and weatherizing.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. If you use it to set back the temperature by 10 degrees for eight hours every night, you'll lower your heating bills by 10 percent. A $50 digital thermostat can pay for itself in energy savings in less than a year.
  • Don't set the thermostat higher than you actually want it. It won't heat your home any faster, and it will keep your furnace running longer than necessary.
  • Vacuum registers and vents regularly, and don't let furniture and draperies block the air flow. Inexpensive plastic deflectors can direct air under tables and chairs.
  • If your home has a boiler system, avoid covering radiators with screens or blocking them with furniture. It's also a good idea to add a reflecting panel behind radiators - you can purchase one at a home center or make one yourself with a plywood panel and aluminum foil.
  • If your home has electric baseboard heating, be sure to keep furniture and draperies away from the heaters, and leave at least a three-inch clearance under the heating unit.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed at night to keep cold air out, but open them during the day to let the sun warm the room.
  • Avoid using space heaters, including electric, kerosene or propane models. Not only are they expensive to operate, they're also very dangerous.
  • If you have hardwood or tile floors, add area rugs to keep your feet warm.

Fireplaces

  • If you'll be going on vacation, lower the thermostat to 55 degrees. This will save energy while preventing water pipes from freezing.
  • Inspect chimney monthlyIf you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned and inspected regularly, and burn only fully dried hardwoods to produce the most heat output.
  • Check the seal on the damper by closing it off and holding a piece of tissue paper inside the firebox. If drafts blow the tissue around, repair or replace the damper.
  • When using the fireplace, turn down the furnace to 55 degrees. If you don't, all the warm air from the furnace will go right up the chimney, wasting energy and money.
  • Add fireproof caulk where the chimney meets the wall, inside and outside.
  • When the fireplace is not in use, make sure fireplace dampers are sealed tight, and keep the glass doors closed. If you never use your fireplace, plug the chimney with fiberglass insulation and seal the doors with silicone caulk.

Air Conditioning

  • Plant a tree. One well-placed shade tree can reduce your cooling costs by 25 percent. For maximum benefit, place leafy shade trees to the south and west, and evergreens to the north.
  • During late afternoon and early evening, turn off unnecessary lights and wait to use heat-producing appliances. It's also a good idea to shade south- and west- facing windows during the hottest part of the day.
  • Window air conditionerMaintain your central air conditioner by cleaning the outside compressor with a garden hose (be sure to shut off power at the fuse or breaker first). Keep plantings at least one foot away for adequate airflow.
  • Use ceiling fans to help circulate air throughout the house, and make sure your attic is properly ventilated. A ceiling fan should run clockwise during the summer and counter-clockwise during the winter.
  • Set the fan on your central air conditioner to "on" rather than "auto." This will circulate air continuously, keeping the temperature more even throughout the house and aiding in dehumidification.
  • Make sure your window air conditioner is the proper size. It's better to get one that's too small than too large - a larger unit will start up and turn off more frequently and won't do as good a job dehumidifying the air.
  • Don't judge the efficiency of your air conditioner by the sound of the fan shutting on and off. The blower will continue to circulate cooled air throughout your home up to 15 minutes after the compressor has stopped. (The same holds true for the furnace.)
  • Raise the thermostat to about 78 to 80 degrees whenever you go to bed or leave the house. A programmable thermostat will do this for you automatically.
  • If your home can't accommodate central air conditioning, try a whole-house attic fan. This device pushes hot air out through attic vents, lowering the temperature throughout your home about five degrees in less than ten minutes. Attic fans cost less than 25 cents per day to operate.
  • During the winter, remove window air conditioners and seal the windows with caulk and weatherstripping. You might also want to cover the central air compressor with a tarp to keep it clean.

 


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If you are vision-impaired or have some other disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to shopping or ordering on or using the benefits of our website, please contact Alliant Energy at 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268).