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Efficiency Maine Tips for Saving Energy and Dollars

Efficiency Maine, a program of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, has released five tips to help consumers save on their electric bills and at the same time save energy.

Augusta, ME, January 23, 2008 --( Are the ever-increasing home energy costs getting you down?

Do you want to start saving money by reducing your energy costs right this minute?

Is reducing carbon emissions by cutting down your use of electricity of interest to you?

If so, the following five simple but very effective tips from Efficiency Maine, a program of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, are for you.

Reduce Phantom Loads:
Many appliances continue to draw power when they are switched off. These "phantom" loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home, 75% of electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. The recommended method for finding phantom loads is turning off all lights at night and looking for any LEDs or other glows in the house. Any device that requires resetting after a blackout or power surge is a cause of phantom load.

Replace Incandescent bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs):
Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs can give the same amount and quality of light as incandescent bulbs, yet use one-third the amount of energy and last ten times longer. A CFL can save over $30 in electricity costs over the lamp’s lifetime compared to an incandescent bulb and save 2000 times their own weight in green house gases.

Turn Down The Thermostat:
Turning down the thermostat by 1 degree F, can save 25-30 gallons of heating oil per year. That’s up to 3% of an average homes yearly consumption, or between $79-$95 per year at the current average rate of heating oil ($3.17/gallon). Turn down your thermostat to 55 degrees when the house is unoccupied. It takes about 1 hour to heat the average house to a desired temperature. It is a common myth that turning the thermostat down makes you burn more heating oil in warming up the house again. When at home during the day, setting your thermostat to 68 degrees is a comfortable maximum temperature. At night when you are sleeping, around 60 degrees should be comfortable.

Use Cold Wash and Don’t Over Dry Clothes:
Use lower temperature settings on your washing machine, preferably the cold water cycle, and only use cold for rinses. The temperature of the rinse water does not affect cleaning. Load the washing machine to capacity. Washing one large load will take less energy than washing two loads on a low or medium setting. When you don't have a full load, match the water level to the size of the load. Don't over-dry clothes that you are going to iron. Take clothes out of the dryer while they are still slightly damp to reduce the need for ironing - another big energy user. Over-drying can cause shrinkage, generates static electricity, and shortens fabric life. If you have room, you can also "hang your clothes out" to dry.

Use Smallest Pans: Use the smallest pan necessary to do the job. Smaller surfaces require less energy. Match the pan size to the element size. For example, a 6" pan on an 8" burner can waste over 40% of the heat produced by the burner. Don't preheat your oven, and use the smaller of the two ovens if you have a dual unit. Cook complete meals of several dishes simultaneously in the oven.

Efficiency Maine, a program of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, releases energy saving tips each season. For more information, visit the MPUC’s Efficiency Maine website at or call 1-866-ESMAINE.

Contact Information
Efficiency Maine
Pekka Paavonpera
1 207 775 5227

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