When buying new appliances and electronics, purchase items with the ENERGY STAR label.
- Replace refrigerators and freezers manufactured before 1993; look for an ENERGY STAR unit that uses 550 kWh or less per year.
- Discontinue using and recycle secondary refrigerators and freezers.
- Loveland Water and Power will haul away your 1993 or older refrigerator or freezer (the appliance must not be in working/cooling condition), and offers a $35 rebate to do it. Refrigerators and freezers manufactured in 1993 or before can cost you up to four times what a new ENERGY STAR appliance costs to run. www.cityofloveland.org/rebates
- Replace your clothes washer with a front-loading machine.
- Replace your dishwasher with an Energy Certified model.
- Continue to upgrade lighting to CFLs or LEDs. For information on discounted LED bulbs from local retailers visit www.cityofloveland.org/LWAT.
- Turn off lights and electrical equipment when not in use.
- Use a Smart Strip or power strip to reduce phantom loads. Phantom loads are continual electric power draws for devices such as TVs, stereos, computers and videogame consoles. These devices often draw a lot of power even when turned off.
Here are a few tips on running your appliances:
Refrigerator – Vacuum the coils annually. Do not place it where the sun will shine on it, keep the gaskets clean so that the door thoroughly closes and creates a tight seal. Loveland Water and Power provides free haul away and recycling for secondary units, they must be in working condition. In addition, participants will also receive a $35 rebate. Customers can schedule a pick up online at www.cityofloveland.org/rebates or by calling 970-962-3000.
Washer – Standard washing machines use ~50 gallons of water while front loaders use only use ~17 gallons and clothes come out cleaner. The washer spins the clothes so well that the dryer is not needed as much. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that heating the water accounts for 80% of the cost of washing clothes.
Dryer – Install clotheslines as alternatives to using a powered clothes dryer. Be sure to clean your lint filter after every use and have the dryer duct inside your walls cleaned regularly by a professional duct cleaning company to increase efficiency and reduce the likelihood of fire. Dryer run-times can be cut in half in some cases just by cleaning the ducts.
Lighting – Beware of incandescent light bulbs meeting the new more efficient standards as these packages many times say something about being energy efficient. Even though incandescent lighting has recently become more efficient it is still one of the most energy intensive lighting alternatives there is. I do not recommend purchasing incandescent light bulbs unless there is no CFL or LED equivalent. CFLs typically reduce lighting energy use by approximately 75%. They also last longer than incandescent lights and typically pay for themselves in 6 months. Keep an eye out for the ENERGY STAR label when purchasing new light bulbs. You may want to consider buying a few different brands to find one that gives the best color rendering. Check with your local hardware store about recycling CFLs. If you break a CFL and want information on cleaning up safely, please refer to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/mercury/index.htm
Also see http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=LB and click on “Buying Guidance” to view or print the buying guide or download the Light Bulb Finder mobile app. For more information on shapes of bulbs available see http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_shapes and type of light available see http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_color.
LED lighting is the next generation of lighting. They can use 90% less energy, are typically rated to last 30,000 or more hours and do not contain mercury. The initial price is higher than CFLs, so they may be a good option where changing bulbs is time consuming or difficult such as in tall ceiling fixtures. For information about discounted LEDs from local retailers visit www.cityofloveland.org/LWAT.
Light dimmers do not always save electricity. Older or inefficient dimmers just dump the extra electrical energy as heat behind the switch. This is why some dimmer switches are warm to the touch when operating. Newer “electronic” dimmers save energy when lights are dimmed. CFL and LED bulbs typically perform better with a CFL/LED compatible dimmer switch. These switch replacements are available at local hardware stores for approximately $30. I recommend having them installed by a licensed electrician. Visit www.cityofloveland.org/LWAT to find discounted CFL Dimmers and Occupancy Switches at local retailers.
Smart Strip – A Smart Strip works like a power strip without the need for manually turning off the strip. Plug in an item like a TV into the “main” outlet of the strip. Then plug in other TV-dependent equipment like your DVD player, cable box, game console, etc. When you turn off the TV, the other equipment is completely shut down and there is no phantom load. The same applies to computers and their components. Be aware that devices like DVRs (e.g., TiVo) require a constant power source to retain their settings. Plasma TVs tend to use a lot of electricity even when they are off; therefore we recommend plugging them into a standard power strip and turning it off when you are not using the TV.
Hot tubs use a lot of electricity – about 5,500 to 6,500 watts when the heater is on. To improve your hot tub’s efficiency: use a hard foam cover rated to R-12 and keep it in good condition, use a floating thermal blanket (1/4″ closed-cell foam), replace deteriorating or water-logged covers, set the tub on three-inch thick extruded (blue or pink) foam board to insulate it from the cold ground, add foam board (up to 6”) to insulate the walls, set the temperature lower or to vacation mode when it is not in use, and drain it (especially during the winter) if you do not use it often.