RICHMOND, Va., May 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power is encouraging customers to take control of their utility bills by taking steps to save energy.
"We encourage customers to use energy wisely and to find easy ways to reduce the amount of energy being wasted," said Ken Barker, vice president of customer solutions and energy conservation.
"If you are using an old, inefficient refrigerator in your garage or if you leave televisions and lights turned on when no one is in the room, you have an opportunity to reduce your electric bill. If you look around your home, you might find appliances and devices like phone chargers that can be unplugged when not in use. The results of small actions can add up to big results."
Home heating and cooling systems are a major contributor to energy use and should be routinely inspected by a trained professional to ensure they are operating efficiently.
Here are 10 more ways to take control of your energy usage:
- In the summer, set the thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature. Dominion and the U.S. Department of Energy recommend 78 degrees for maximum efficiency.
- On hot days, cook outdoors, use a microwave oven or prepare cold meals to avoid excess heat in the kitchen. If you cook outdoors, plan carefully to minimize the trips in and out of the house when hot air can enter and cool air can escape.
- Use ceiling fans to make it feel colder so you can set the thermostat higher and still be comfortable.
- Replace or clean forced-air heating/cooling system filters monthly.
- Wash clothes in cold water and clean the lint filter in the dryer after every use.
- Use the moisture-sensing automatic drying setting on your dryer if you have one.
- Air must be able to circulate freely around the outside unit of your air conditioner or heat pump. Keep the area around it clear of weeds and debris.
- Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
- Keep the water heater set at 120 degrees and insulate the heater and adjacent pipes to prevent heat loss.
- Close the flue to any fireplace that is not in use.
More easy energy-saving ideas are available at: www.dom.com/tips. An online energy calculator that can help you identify the best and most cost effective ways for conservation and efficiency is available at: http://www.dom.com/about/conservation/energy-calculators-help-find-energy-savings.jsp.
Information about budget billing, energy assistance, payment plans and other customer service topics is available online at www.dom.com/service.
The Commonwealth Crisis Assistance program, which can help pay up to $435 for winter heating bills, is available for qualifying customers facing a heating emergency. For information on qualifying and applying for this program, customers can dial 2-1-1 to locate the nearest office of the Virginia Department of Social Services or go to www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/ea/index.cgi.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27, 500 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.
SOURCE Dominion Virginia Power