We routinely provide assistance to residents who are concerned about utility usage. Often times, we are able to successfully discover utility consuming factors in homes that only require simple lifestyle adjustments to combat.
OPTIMIZE YOUR APPLIANCES
There are over 16,000 appliances on JBER! While these appliances vary in brand, age, and style, there are some simple steps that can be taken with all appliances to reduce consumption.
- Dishwashers: Don’t be deceived, dishwashers are one of the biggest pulls of power in your home! Be sure to clean regularly (to prevent clogged jets), clean dishes off prior to placing in, run only when full, and forfeit the longer cycle and heated dry options.
- Washers: Do full loads of laundry in cold water cycles (when clothes aren’t heavily soiled).
- Dryers: Clean out the lint trap before each use and remove clothes immediately upon completion. Often times we run an additional cycle if clothes become wrinkled after sitting in the dryer.
- Refrigerators/Freezers: Make sure the settings are at the proper temperature. Typically the “recommended” temperature on the dial is adequate. Also, be sure that the seals on the doors are functional, they wear over time and can cause cold air to escape.
- Ranges: Do not turn off your regular heat and use these to heat your home: you will not save energy and will potentially cause a buildup of CO in your home.
- Small Appliances: Keep these guys unplugged when not in use.
As always, if there’s something wrong with an appliance, report it to maintenance.
OPTIMIZE YOUR HEATING SYSTEM
There are a variety of ways in which homes are heated on JBER. Regardless of whether you have a forced air (furnace) or baseboard heating (boiler) system, there are simple, non-invasive steps that can be taken to reduce consumption.
- Vents and baseboard registers: Keep furniture away from areas where heat is dispersed. When furniture blocks vents, it prevents that warm air from circulating in the room (and telling the thermostat to shut off the heat/zone).
- Thermostats: Be sure to replace batteries in thermostats regularly and contact maintenance if you have an issue with too much heat; this likely means that a zone valve is stuck or thermostat is faulty.
- Furnace Filters: Check them every 30 days, and replace at minimum every 90 days. The harder a furnace has to work to push air through a clogged filter, the more energy it consumes.
- Balance it out: Keep the downstairs thermostats set a bit higher than the upstairs; heat rises.
OPTIMIZE YOUR ELECTRONICS
We love our gadgets and such, but technology can be power hungry. There are a few things to look out for when purchasing electronics, and a number of settings that can be adjusted on existing technology to reduce power consumption.
- Look on the box: Most electronics, such as TVs or computers detail their power consumption on the box. Know the efficiency of a product before you buy.
- Set up auto- sleep: Devices such as video game consoles, computers, and TVs all have power saving settings that allow you to adjust the time it takes before they shut off when no input is detected. The shorter the time, the less power draw.
- Use sleep timers: It’s not uncommon to watch a little TV before bed. Be sure to set that sleep timer to prevent the TV from running all night.
- Use power strips: Even when modern electronics are turned off, many still pull power. Use power strips with on/off switches to quickly and easily prevent this “phantom” usage when a device is not in use.
- Use eco modes: Many electronics have eco or power saving modes that slightly reduce performance or brightness in exchange for less power consumption.
In Closing…The Elephant in the Room
There’s a lot of buzz as of late about utilities, as the Department of the Army recently suspended their installations’ utility allowance programs. To be clear, this suspension does not apply to JBER; the Air Force’s Utility Allowance Program still applies to all residents, regardless of branch of service.