Other Things to Consider

Swimming Pool

The filter pump runs continuously in most cases during the summer months. The horsepower rating on the motor usually ranges from .5 to 1.5 and can use 360 to over 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month. Utilize a timer to reduce the pumps operational time.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans and portable fans can help make you feel cooler, but they don’t cool the room. Use them wisely; when you are not in the room, turn them off. Conversely, most ceiling fans have a reversing switch. This can be very effective in moving warm air from the ceiling in the winter and redistributing it throughout the room.


Many of the appliances/equipment we use in our lifestyles are directly tied to the weather. As the seasons change – causing the temperature to turn cooler or warmer–it usually has a direct effect on our air conditioning and heating use.

Hot Tubs

Although there is nothing more soothing than sinking into a hot tub after a long day, these energy wasters are nothing more than a huge water heater with an open face. Many times, owners don’t even take the time to cover them up when not in use. Hot tubs can use $25 to $50 of energy per month or more.

Closing Off Vents

Perhaps you have unused rooms where you shut off the vent damper thinking you will save electricity by not heating or cooling that room. What you have really done is created an “unbalanced pressure” situation which will result in less efficient operation due to short cycling of the furnace or heat pump and blower. In the case of a gas furnace, this situation could introduce carbon monoxide into the home through back drafts. Rather than closing off vents, consider adjusting the thermostat temperature up in summer and down in winter.

Space Heaters

Most space heaters are 1500-watt units that are used to “warm up” a room such as a bathroom or used temporarily while you work in an unheated garage. A typical space heater used just two hours per day can account for 90 kilowatt-hours of electricity in a month’s time.

Replacing Major Appliances

Age – Sometimes it is hard to justify replacing a major appliance for efficiency reasons until the unit dies. When replacing major appliances, look for the Energy Star label.

Location – If you do replace an older major appliance that is still working, please think twice before putting that older unit somewhere else like in the garage or basement. Freezers and refrigerators are designed to be placed in 70ºF-conditioned areas. Putting them outside in a garage that gets uncomfortably hot in the summertime just causes the refrigerator or freezer to run more often. In addition, these places aren’t always the cleanest, so the coils collect dust, pet hair, etc., quicker than in the house, which affects their efficiency.

Air Leaks – It’s been estimated that a typical home with all of its foundation and wall cracks, holes around sink plumbing and electrical outlets, gas and fireplace flues, and use of recessed can lighting in ceilings have air leakage that it is equivalent to leaving a door open year-round. Take the time to seal all of these openings with caulk or foam and apply insulated foam gaskets behind outside wall switches and receptacles. Add sufficient insulation where needed in attics and walls.

Using Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems – If you have heating and cooling units that are more than 15 years old, consider replacing them with energy-efficient units. Great strides have been made in improving the energy efficiency of heating and cooling equipment. If you use evaporative cooling systems (swamp coolers), follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding maintenance items such as pads, water changes, etc. Do not operate them simultaneously with refrigerated air conditioning systems and remember to close windows and doors when switching to refrigerated-type systems. Also, cover the evaporative coolers when not in use to eliminate air leaks through them. Talk with your electric cooperative about what is available.

Shut the door – Every time the entry doors are opened during heating and cooling seasons, unconditioned air from the outside enters the home, which has to be heated or cooled. Try to reduce these door openings to a minimum.