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Reduce your household energy costs

Media contact:

Rebecca Gants
Senior Information Specialist, West Central Region
University of Missouri Cooperative Media Group
Phone: 816-812-2534
Email: gantsr@missouri.edu

Published: Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

Story source:

Marsha Alexander, 816-482-5850

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average home spends approximately $1,900 annually on energy. Almost 35 percent of that goes to powering appliances and lighting.

Marsha Alexander, University of Missouri Extension housing and environmental design specialist, has some tips for reducing energy costs:

-Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. While more expensive than conventional bulbs, they use less energy and generally last far longer.

-Turn off lights, the television and appliances when they are not in use.

-Wash clothes only when you have a full load or change the setting to fit the load size.

-Run the dishwasher only when you have full loads and use the energy saver cycles.

-Use fans rather than air conditioning when possible. Consider installing a whole-house fan. If using air conditioning, set the thermostat to a higher temperature and use ceiling fans to help circulate the cooler air.

-Change your furnace filter regularly in the fall and winter. Set the furnace temperature lower in the colder months. "For every degree adjusted, you can save 1 percent on heating and cooling costs," Alexander said.

-Properly maintain your heating and cooling systems.

-Seal cracks and holes around windows, doors, switches and electrical outlets, as they can leak air into or out of your house. Check for open fireplace dampers.

-Turn off the heat or air conditioning in unused rooms.

More information on saving on household expenses is available in an MU Extension guide, "Money Management: Living on Less" (GH3600), available for download at http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/hesguide/famecon/gh3600.htm.