Article from Volume 2, Issue Number 1, 2021
Energy-Saving Tips for Your Condo
A little late-spring cleaning will help save you money throughout the year.
The bulk of your energy bills over the next few months will come from your hot water heating and cooling for your building. Further savings can be made by improving the performance of your fridge and taking advantage of free energy to dry your clothes. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started:
Hot water heaters:
If you have a hot water heater in your home, it is likely to be a standalone electric unit. These systems are about 90% efficient, but can account for as much as 45% of your annual electricity use. The first step is to ensure the temperature on your hot water heater is set between 60-65°C (140-150°F). Lower temperatures can risk bacterial growth that could lead to Legionnaires Disease.
After setting the temperature, the next big savings come from wrapping the tank with an insulation jacket. Insulating your hot water heater can save over $35/year by reducing the need to heat standing water. Additional savings of $10/year can be achieved by installing pipe insulation around all of your hot water lines and insulating at least three feet of the cold water line coming from the tank.
Air conditioners/exterior heat pumps:
Air conditioners and exterior heat pump compressors may be damaged over winter months. Spring is a good time to make sure the unit is running as it should, checking the fan blades for small dents and ensuring that there is no unusual noise coming from the system. If you do notice dents in the blades or something doesn’t seem right with your system, call in a technician to repair your system. Maintenance and a quick tune-up early in the season can reduce your annual heating and cooling costs by up to 5%. To further reduce costs associated with cooling, keep blinds and heavy curtains closed during the daytime to stop direct sunlight from entering your living space.
Refrigerators must work harder in the summer months to keep food cold. Turn on a flashlight and place it in the fridge/freezer and close the door. If you can see light with the door closed, there are gaps for cold air to escape. Repair or replace the seal as necessary.
It is also beneficial to clean the dust off the evaporator coils that can be found below or behind the fridge. Combining these two simple tasks can reduce energy use by nearly 8%. If you’re purchasing a new fridge, look for an ENERGY STAR model. To be ENERGY STAR, the fridge must perform at least 20% better than federal energy standards and can be up to 40% more efficient than non-ENERGY STAR appliances. For further savings, a slightly smaller fridge will cost less on your power bill and is typically less expensive than bigger models.