Energy Conservation During a Flex Alert Can Help Prevent Service Interruptions

Conserving energy, natural gas, and water can save money, and helps protect our natural resources. During a Flex Alert, energy conservation can also help reduce stress on the grid and avoid rotating power outages.

When a Flex Alert is issued, consumers are asked to voluntarily reduce electricity use between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. by:

  • Setting the air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees, if your health permits.
  • Using major appliances, such as the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, and oven before 3 p.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Turning off unnecessary lights.
  • Closing blinds and drapes to keep the sun from heating up your home.
  • Using fans when possible.

Contact your electric utility for more energy-saving tips, and check for rebates to help reduce your energy use and monthly costs by adding more insulation, upgrading the heating and air conditioner, or replacing the pool pump.

HERE ARE RESIDENTIAL ENERGY SAVING TIPS

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Adjust Your Thermostat 

  • During the summer, or when you are not home, remember to set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher. Increasing your air conditioner 7 to 10 degrees 8 hours a day can save up to 10 percent on cooling costs.
  • During the winter, lower your furnace thermostat 3 to 5 degrees, if health permits.
  • Use smart or programmable thermostat features to help maintain energy savings when you are not home. Consumers who use programmable thermostats can save up to 10 percent annually on heating and cooling costs.

Windows and Doors

  • Keep windows and doors closed to prevent the loss of cooled or heated air.
  • On summer nights, open windows to let cooler air in when safe. In the morning before the day starts to heat up, close windows and blinds to keep the sun from heating up your home.
  • During the summer, tilt blinds up and close drapes and shades on windows that receive direct sunlight.
  • During the winter, open window coverings to allow the direct sunlight to heat rooms.

Adjust Temperature with Ceiling Fans 

  • During the summer, using your ceiling fan while your air conditioner is on will allow you to raise your thermostat about 4 degrees and maintain the same level of comfort. Remember to shut off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Also, adjust your ceiling fans to run counter clockwise to push cool air down.
  • During the winter, ceiling fans should run at a low speed in a clockwise direction to gently draw room air up and force warm air down.

Smart Energy Use 

  • Turn off unnecessary lights, and use task or desktop lamps with LEDs instead of overhead lights.
  • Enable the "power management" setting on all computers and turn off when not in use.
  • Unplug phone chargers, power strips (those without a switch) and other equipment when not in use. The Department of Energy estimates when you unplug devices that draw energy when they are in standby mode, you can reduce your annual energy cost by $100.

Major Appliance Use 

  • In the summer, postpone using heat-producing appliances like the oven, dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer until cooler times of the day to avoid heating up your home.
  • Run your dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer only when full. During summer, use before 3 p.m. or after 9 p.m. to use these and other major appliances.
  • When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90 percent of the energy used in a clothes washer goes to water heating.
  • Consider hanging your clothes outside to dry to save energy.

Clean or Replace Your Filters

  • A dirty filter forces your air conditioner and furnace to work harder, wasting money and energy.

Inspect Your Home for Air Leaks

  • Caulk or seal around air vents, registers, doors and windows. Pay close attention to the connections where vents and registers meet floors, walls and ceilings, as these are common places for leaks.

Adjust Your Water Heater

  • Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees or the "normal" setting when home, and to the lowest setting when away. Water heating accounts for about 13 percent of home energy costs.

Head Somewhere Cool

  • On hot afternoons, consider going somewhere cool like the community pool, library or a community-cooling center. But before you leave, remember to adjust your thermostat.

Conservation Programs

  • Consider participating in your utility's demand response program. These voluntary programs are short, temporary measures to reduce energy consumption when power supplies are critically low and a Flex Alert has been issued. Contact your local electric utility to learn about your utility's program and incentives they may offer to participate.

OFFICE TIPS

Lighting

  • Turn off unnecessary office lights, and use natural lighting where possible.

Thermostat

  • In the summer, set your zone thermostat to 78º or higher, when possible.
  • During the winter, reduce furnace thermostat 3-5º, if possible.

Prevent Leaks

  • Check window vents to make sure they are clear of paper and other debris.
  • Adjust the blinds on windows that receive direct sunlight–closed in the summer, open in the winter.
  • Keep windows and doors closed to prevent the loss of cooled or heated air.

Equipment

  • Turn off any office equipment that is not currently in use. Alternately, look for sleep or power-saving modes in-between uses during the day.

Computers

  • Enable power management settings on all computers, so that they go to sleep and turn off screens when not in use.

Break room

  • Plug electronics such as coffee-makers and microwaves into power strips and switch them off when the day is done.

End-of-the-Day

  • As you leave the office, get in the habit of checking to make sure computers, printers/copiers, and other office equipment is fully shut down. If possible, switch them off at the power strip to ensure they are no longer draining energy.

Conservation Programs

  • Consider participating in your utility's demand response program. These voluntary programs are short, temporary measures to reduce energy consumption when power supplies are critically low and a Flex Alert has been issued. Contact your electric utility for information on how you can participate.