Five nice, easy actions to save

RBC I The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge checklist is available at various locations throughout the community. With checklist in hand, let’s continue to look at the nice, easy “Do Right Away” action items in the energy diet checklist.
n Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED light bulbs.
Changing your light bulbs is the most controversial and confusing. The two types of bulbs, CFL and LED, vary greatly between manufacturers and the design should be specific to the lighting situation (ceiling lights, lamps, recessed lights, outdoor lights.) We recommend speaking with a knowledgeable salesperson at a lighting store to select the correct light bulb to achieve the best performance of light emitting power for your needs. CFL bulbs contain mercury (LED bulbs do not) and require safe disposal when broken or burnt out. A non-biased resource for a completed study of CFL and LED bulbs is the Consumer Reports October 2012, pages 32-34. Web site references listed in the Energy Diet Checklist can also help answer questions.
CFL and LED bulbs cost much more than incandescent bulbs, however, savings are based on long-life (20+ years), lower energy usage, and for LED lights, the light output can surpass an incandescent bulb.
n Lower water heater temperature to 120F
This action requires the homeowner to adjust their water heater temperature setting to a lower temperature. The adjustment is easily done; mostly by a temperature selection dial on the outside of the heater. The water heater owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website is the best reference if more help is needed.
Along with the lowering of hot water temperature, installing a hot water tank insulating blanket will result in more energy savings. These blankets can be purchased locally or through a website; just make certain the size purchased is adequate for the height and diameter of the hot water tank. Note that not all hot water heaters can or should have a blanket. Check with your manufacturer to be sure an insulation blanket is right for your heater.
n Clean refrigerator and freezer coils.
The coils behind the refrigerator(s) and freezer(s) in your home provide one of the primary functions of the cooling cycle in a modern compressor-based appliance. The condensing coils are typically at the rear of the unit, look like rows of tubes within an open cage and require the unit to be moved out of normal position for a complete and safe cleaning. Keep the condenser coils free of dust and debris while maintaining an open area for air circulating to the coils.
n Set your refrigerator to lower than 38F and the freezer to lower than 5F.
The temperature required to keep food safe for consumption without freezing is 40F based on the Federal Government USDA website(www. fsis.usda.gov/FACTSheets/Refrigeration_&_Food_Safety)
The Energy Diet Checklist suggests 38F to assure the food in the refrigerator can be safe from spoilage for a bit longer if and when the door is opened frequently. There is no sense keeping your refrigerator or freezer cooler than it needs to be.
n Let the sun shine in during winter and use blinds or window coverings during summer.
This is a simple and easy step to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. By opening your window coverings in the winter during the day, you allow the warmth of the sun to warm your home. On winter nights, it is a good idea to close your window coverings to keep the cold out. Use the same principles but in reverse for summer. Keep your blinds closed during the day to keep the summer sun out and open at night to let the cool air cool down your house.
These are five easy actions homeowners can take today to reduce energy and save money. Check them off the list and watch your savings increase.
The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge Checklist can be found in your local library, city hall, courthouse or chamber or at YampaValleyDataPartners.com.