Tips to Maximize Your Energy Savings
Looking to reduce your energy use? MGE has simple strategies to target the biggest energy-using areas.
One of the most common questions posed to our MGE Energy Experts is, "How can I save energy at home?" Identifying ways to save doesn't have to be overwhelming. MGE has tips for targeting the biggest energy users in your home and taking simple steps to help reduce your energy use this fall and winter.
Heating and cooling
Turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day—such as when you are away from home or sleeping—can help save an estimated 10% on your heating costs. Visit mge.com/setback for recommended settings. And be sure to take these simple steps this fall to help ensure your furnace is running efficiently.
- Furnace filters are a small but important part of your heating system. Clogged filters can inhibit airflow, which causes your furnace to work harder and use more energy. During heating season, check your filter monthly and clean or replace it when it is dirty.
- Properly opening and closing high and low vent returns will help your furnace to operate efficiently. If your home has these vents, you will see low vents on the wall near the floor. Straight up from the low vents toward the ceiling will be the high vents. Remember that hot air rises and cold air falls. In winter, you want the cold air to be drawn through the return registers so the furnace can heat it. You can achieve this by opening lower vents and closing top vents.
Think twice about space heaters
As the days get cooler, resist using electric space heaters for heat. Using your furnace, even if it is for just a few hours a day, is more energy efficient than using a space heater.
A portable electric space heater can be one of the most expensive ways to heat your home. At today's prices, electric heat costs about five times as much per BTU as natural gas. Running a typical 1,500-watt electric space heater four hours each day for a month would cost about $25. Instead, consider these low- or no-cost ways to stay warm:
- Use a heated blanket or heating pad.
- Put on a sweater.
- Let in the sun during the day to warm a room and close your window treatments at night to keep out the colder night air.
Tips to save on hot-water heating
Water heating is the second-highest home energy user for most households in Wisconsin. Try these tips to save.
- Set your water heater at 125 degrees.
- Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible. Hot water is only needed for greasy or heavily soiled items.
- Wash full loads in your dishwasher and clothes washer.
- Take short showers instead of baths.
- Replace showerheads made before 1994. Look for a style that uses 2.0 gallons per minute (GPM) or less.
- Use faucet aerators to reduce water flow to 1.5 GPM or less.
- Insulate the first 5 feet of cold-water pipes and all hot-water pipes.
Going on vacation? Be sure to turn your gas water heater control down to vacation or pilot setting when gone for two or more days. If you have an electric model, turn it off at the breaker.
Free Energy Expert advice
Using energy efficiently and conserving it are some of the ways we all can reduce our environmental footprint and save energy as we work to achieve our shared energy goals, including net-zero carbon electricity.
MGE can provide tips and answer your questions about saving energy at home any time of year! Email our Energy Experts at AskExperts@mge.com or call the MGE Home Energy Line at (608) 252-7117.