Lowering Utility Costs

Almost one-half of the energy we use in our homes is used for heating and cooling. Hot water heaters are the second largest users of our home energy followed by refrigerators and freezers. Energy is also used for lighting, cooking, and appliances.

Saving energy in your home can help control your living costs. Many energy savings actually cost little or nothing to implement and help us hold down our home energy costs.

Stop Air Leaks

Small air leaks add up in a hurry. Often, many leaks around poorly fitting windows and doors have the same effect as leaving a door standing open.

  • Weather-strip around all exterior doors and openings.
  • Cover the openings of unused fireplaces.
  • Caulk, weather-strip and put plastic over windows.
  • Close all outside vents to crawlspaces in the winter. Open the vents in the summer.
  • Cover window air conditioning units during the winter.
Adding just 1" of insulation to an uninsulated wall can reduce heat loss (winter)or heat gain (summer)through that wall by 40-50 percent.


Heating And Cooling Seasons

Before placing your heating and cooling equipment into service each year, have your system safety checked by a qualified service technician.

  • Open draperies and shades in sunny windows on cold days. Keep them closed at night to prevent heat from escaping.
  • Lower your heating thermostat to 55 degrees at night when you will be away (heat pump owners may achieve greater savings by keeping their thermostat at 70 degrees unless an extended absence from home is planned).
  • Clean and replace filters often.
  • Check ductwork for leaks.
  • Close heating vents and doors to unused rooms during the winter (make sure there are no pipes to freeze in the unheated rooms. Heat pump owners should check their owner's manual before closing the vents).
  • Raise your cooling thermostat to 78 degrees during the summer.
  • Use fans instead of air conditioning to move air whenever possible.
  • Use drapes and shades to keep out unwanted sun.
  • Turn off window air conditioners when you will be away for several hours.
  • Keep windows and doors closed during the hottest or the coldest parts of the day.
Consider the advantages of a clock thermostat for your heating and cooling system. The clock thermostat will turn the heat or air down for you automatically at a regular hour before you retire and turn it on again before you wake. While you can easily turn your thermostat back at night and up again in the morning by yourself, the convenience of a clock thermostat may be worth the $40 to $90 investment.


Hot Water Savers


Heating water costs you money whether you use the water or not.

  • Set the thermostat on your water heater to lower temperature and save money
  • Add insulation around the water heater. Be sure not to block needed air vents for gas and oil heaters.
  • Insulate hot water piping.

Repair Water Leaks

Leaking faucets and toilets waste money you spend for both hot water and cold water.

  • Repair leaks in toilets and faucets.

Lighting and Appliances

  • Use long life, lower wattage light bulbs.
  • Change to fluorescent lights when possible.
  • In the summer, cook during the cooler parts of the day.
  • Use the dishwasher only when full.
  • Let dishes air dry, instead of using the dishwasher.
  • Remember, each time your refrigerator door is opened, you use energy.
  • If you need a new appliance, always shop for the most energy efficient.

Household Appliances

The golden rule is, "If you are not using it, turn it off!" About 30 percent of the average consumer's electric bill results from use of these appliances.


  KWH Per Month Cost Per Month
Automatic coffee pot 10 $.80
Clothes washer   5 $.40
Clocks   1 $.08
Hair Dryer 3 $.24
Iron   4 $.32
Lighting 40 $3.20
Radio 4 $.32
Range oven and surface 54 $4.32
Refrigerator-freezer   134 $10.72
Television or stereo   46 $3.68
Toaster 3 $.24
Vacuum Cleaner 3 $.24
Clothes Dryer   56 $4.48
Dishwasher   19 $1.92
Electric Blanket   20 $1.60
Freezer   99 $7.92
Microwave Oven   10 $.80
Pool Pump   259 $20.72
Waterbed 100 $8.00



Georgia Public Service Commission
244 Washington Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-4501
Fax: (404) 656-2341
Email: gapsc@psc.state.ga.us


Last Updated: June 15, 2000