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April 18, 2014
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Top tips for saving energy


It was noted that water heating accounts for the second largest use of energy in most homes. One of the easiest ways to save is to set the water heater thermostat to 120 degrees. Also, turning down the thermostat about one degree will save homeowners about 2% on their heating bills, according to SEEDS. Turning it down five degrees will save about 10%.

Jenna Wayne, an official with PPL Education and Public Outreach, talked about “phantom power,” energy that is wasted when appliances—from toaster ovens to televisions to coffee machines to microwave ovens to phone chargers—remain plugged in when not in use. “It’s sucking power out of your life,” she told the crowd, noting that 10% of power, or about $200 a year, is wasted when appliances remain hooked up when not in use.

“It’s really simple to unplug something when you’re not using it,” Wayne said. “When it’s plugged in, it’s in standby and it’s using energy.”

Lighting also is a significant part of a household’s energy bill. Energy-saving bulbs such as CFLs or LEDs can save 75 to 90% off the lighting portion of an electric bill, according to SEEDS. Homeowners should decide which lights they use most often, changing them first. Any light used more than two hours per day is a good candidate for a more efficient bulb. PPL customers may visit www.pplelectric.com to find out how much energy they are using.

Water is another resource that can be reused. And it is vital to do so, said Jamie Knecht, a watershed specialist with the Wayne County Conservation District. She noted that 97% of the earth’s water is saltwater. She also noted that it takes an abundance of the resource to produce clothing and cook food, from cotton shirts to hamburgers.

Water can be reused in numerous ways, such as using pasta water to water plants. Knecht recommended that people just be generally aware every time they go to pour water down the drain, and to ask themselves can the water be used elsewhere.

The watershed specialist also suggested homeowners use water aerators on faucets and low-flow shower heads and toilets. By doing the latter, a homeowner will save over a gallon of water on each flush. For well owners, using less water means using less electricity to pump it; and for metered water systems, using less water cuts down on the bill.