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FAQ: Energy Conservation Tips

For your house
For your heating system
For your water heater
For your washer

For your house

  • Insulate, seal, and weather-strip windows and doors.
  • Put added insulation in your attic.
  • Repair leaky faucets; one leaky faucet can use about 6,000 gallons of water in a year.
  • Atmos Energy does not maintain and is not responsible for any piping from our meter to your home or business (except in Kansas and Missouri). If the condition of the piping is not monitored, it may be subject to the potential hazards of corrosion and leakage. Buried gas piping should periodically be inspected for leaks and repaired if any unsafe condition is discovered.
  • Make sure the pilot light on all gas devices is a blue color. If the flame is red or yellow, call an authorized contractor to have it checked for an improper mixture of air and gas. Not only can the wrong mixture lower efficiency, it can be unsafe and needs immediate attention.
  • Clean cobwebs, dust or other debris from your space heater before using for the first time in cold weather. Remove dust and lint from furnace vents, registers and baseboard heaters.
  • Make sure weather stripping around doors and windows is in good condition. Replace it if necessary.
  • Make sure your duct work is properly insulated and sealed. Unsealed ducts in attics and crawl spaces lose heated air. Non-insulated ducts lose heat, wasting energy and money.
  • Keep blinds or draperies opened on sunny winter days to let the sun's warmth in. This is especially important on any windows or glass doors receiving direct sunlight.
  • Remove any leaves, nests or other obstructions from inside the flue or chimney of your gas appliances.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, consider installing a natural gas fireplace, which can save on energy costs compared with wood. A gas fireplace also will dramatically reduce the air pollution created from burning wood.
  • Always use gas devices only for their intended use. For example, do not use a gas stove to warm the house.
  • Install storm or thermal windows and doors or double-paned glass. A less-expensive alternative is plastic sheeting, which can be temporarily fastened over doors and windows to retain heat or air conditioning.
  • When buying new appliances, compare energy efficiency ratings and annual operating costs. A slightly higher initial cost for a high-efficiency appliance could pay for itself in a short time, through lower utility bills.

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For your heating system

  • Change your air filter in a forced heating and cooling system regularly; a dirty air filter makes the heating and cooling system work harder.
  • You can reduce your energy bills by 5 percent or more by keeping a clean filter in your heating and cooling system.
  • Inspect your thermostat. Older thermostats only go down to 60 degrees. If you are gone for long periods of time or on vacation, lower your thermostat to 55 degrees.
  • An inaccurate thermostat can cost you money. For example, it may read 68 degrees but the temperature really may be 71 degrees in your home. Have your thermostat checked by a contractor if it needs an adjustment.
  • Set your thermostat at 70 degrees or lower in the winter. Every degree you raise your thermostat means a higher heating bill. If you plan to be away from home for several days, 55 degrees or so is a good setting. Heating costs will increase 4 to 6 percent for every thermostat setting above 70 degrees during the winter.
  • Have your heating system inspected by a professional technician. This will reduce chances of equipment failure, and your unit will run more efficiently.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. You can save up to 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills by turning your thermostat back 10 percent to 15 percent while you are away during the day, on vacation or sleeping.
  • Replace or clean the filter on your furnace every 30 days.

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For your water heater

  • Heating water is the second largest energy expense in your home. Keep the setting at 120 degrees. You can save 15 percent if you cut lower the temperature on your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 degrees. If you are gone for a long period of time, set your thermostat at "vacation" or the lowest setting.
  • Drain the water from your water heater periodically. This process removes the mineral sediment found in all water supplies.
  • Inspect the relief (pop-off) valve on your water heater regularly.

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For your washer

  • Cold water does just as good a job as warm or hot water for most laundry; always select cold water for the rinse cycle.
  • Wash a full load, and use the energy-saver cycle if you have one on your machine.
  • Be sure that dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers are fully loaded before running.
  • Reduce clothes drying costs by cleaning the lint filter after every load to improve air circulation; don't over-dry clothes.
  • Moving the washing machine's water temperature setting from hot to warm cuts a load's energy use in half.

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