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Energy Saving Tips

The co-op is your first source for information and answers about all your energy needs. In fact, we have a local Energy Advisor to help you save energy and money in your home or business. Whether you're improving the energy efficiency of your entire home or simply looking for tips, your Energy Advisor is here for you. Contact Nathan Hatalla at 217-707-707-6019

Click a category to find tips on how to save energy!


Heating and Cooling
  • Check with a professional. Ensure that your whole heating and cooling system is energy efficient by having it cleaned and checked by a professional every season.

  • Clean or replace your furnace or heat pump filters every month. Dirty filters prevent adequate air flow and make your system work harder.

  • Seal the leaks. Leaky ducts can decrease the overall energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%. Contact a professional who can properly seal your ducts for increased efficiency and lower utility bills.

  • Check your fireplace. The up-draft created by your fireplace can suck warm air out of your rooms and up the flue. Install tightly fitting doors to help prevent warm air from escaping.

  • Choose CFLs. Using CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs) in just five fixtures could save you up to $60 a year in energy costs. These bulbs use 2/3 less energy and last 6 to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

  • Look to lumens (not Watts) for light. Use "lumens," or light output, as your guide to getting the right bulb. Energy-efficient bulbs will provice the same amount of light with fewer Watts.

  • Use dimmers. Set the mood, and decrease energy costs at the same time.

  • When not in use, turn off the juice. Save energy by not wasting it; turn off the lights when leaving a room.

  • Avoid halogen fixtures. Replace them with an energy-efficient, cooler and safer fixture to save about $75 in energy costs.

  • Replace your ceiling fan. Swap your old ceiling fan with an energy-efficient fan/light combination model, and use half the energy.
Water Heating
  • Insulate. If your hot water heater is warm to the touch, consider adding an insulating jacket to the tank. This will help reduce heat lost through the walls of the tank by 25-40%, saving you 4-9% on your water heating bills.

  • Turn down the heat. Every 10°F reduction in temperature on your water heater can save you about 3-5%. Set it around 120°F, which good for most households.

  • Pick the right one. Look for a water heater with a high energy factor (0.7 to 0.95 EF), a rating based on recovery efficiency, standby losses and cycling losses.
  • Keep your refrigerator between 37°F and 40°F.

  • Keep your freezer at 0°F.

  • Regularly defrost refrigerators and freezers. Frost buildup of more than 1/4 inch decreases the energy efficiency of the unit.

  • Invest in a replacement. Even if they are still running, chances are refrigerators made before 1990 (rated above 1200kWh/yr) are costing you more per year to operate, than new, efficient Energy Star 450kWh/yr models.

  • Choose a model with a top freezer. Refrigerators with top freezers use 10-25% less energy than side-by-sides.

  • Choose a 16-20 cubic foot refrigerator. This is the right size refrigerator for most households, and it is the most energy efficient.

  • Keep it away from the heat. Position your refrigerator away from heat sources like the oven, dishwasher, or direct sunlight.

  • Allow air to circulate around the condenser coils. Leave a space between the wall or cabinets and the refrigerator or freezer and keep the coils clean.

  • Make sure the door seals are airtight. Test them by closing the door over a piece of paper. if the paper pulls out easily, the latch may need adjustment, the seal may need replacing, or you might need a new unit.

  • Cover liquids and wrap foods. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.

  • Conserve. Your biggest opportunity for savings is to use less hot water.

  • Upgrade. Low flow shower heads and faucet aerators can cut hot water usage in half.

  • Take shorter showers. Aim for a 5-7 minute shower to save hot water.
  • Use cold water to wash clothes. In a typical hot or warm water wash, up to 90% of electricity used goes to heating the water.

  • Wash only full loads. Get your money's worth out of your load of laundry.

  • Use a low water usage washer. That way, when you do need warm water, you don’t use as much.

  • Don’t over-dry your clothes. Use the moisture sensor, if your dryer is equipped with one.

  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer. Do this after every load to improve air circulation.

  • Air dry your clothes. Hang clothes to dry instead of using a dryer for a 100% savings in electricity.
  • Turn down the temperature. Check the manual to see if you can set your water heater temperature lower.

  • Don't pre-rinse. Scrape, don’t rinse, dishes prior to loading.

  • Air dry dishes. Use the automatic air-dry switch, if available, or turn off the control knob after the final rinse and prop the door open so dishes dry faster.
Home Entertainment / Home Office
  • Choose an Energy Star model. Energy Star Qualified Appliances like TVs, VCRs, DVDs, refrigerators and freezers use 25-50% less energy than standard units.

  • Avoid "phantom power draw." Appliances like TVs, DVDs and other office equipment still use electricity when they are “off,” for lights, clocks or displays. Use power strips with off/on buttons to turn them completely off when not in use.

  • Shut down your computer. Screen savers do not reduce energy consumption. Putting computers in a sleep mode or turning them off results in more energy savings.
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