Skip to main navigation.

Energy Tips

Air Conditioning Tips

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher, health permitting. Programmable thermostats can help you set a schedule for your operating system to run efficiently and will save you money to.
  • Clean or replace dirty filters monthly during heavy-use months.
  • Shut the unit off when you are on vacation. If you have plants or pets, set the thermostat to 82 degrees and the fan setting on auto.
  • Leave plenty of room for free airflow on all sides of the air conditioner unit, at least four feet at the top. It should be kept free of debris and shrubbery and placed on the north or east side of the house, out of direct sunlight.
  • Buy a high efficiency air conditioner. Central air conditioners are rated by Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). New air conditioners are required by federal law to have a SEER of 12 or higher. Even though it will cost more, it is worth it to buy at least a SEER 14 unit because over time that initial investment will be paid back with energy savings.
  • Shade sun-exposed windows and building walls. Sunlight streaming through windows in the summer can substantially increase your air conditioning costs. During the cooling season, use window coverings, awnings or blinds wherever possible to reduce heat absorption by up to 80%.
  • Dehumidifiers can run $20-$40 per month to operate; based on 200-400 kWh per month. If the problem in your basement is a musty smell, try using a box fan instead of a dehumidifier. A fan will cost less than $4 per month to run.
  • Join Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative’s Air Conditioning Cycled Air Program. By taking advantage of temporary interruptions in power during peak energy use, you’ll enjoy savings.
  • Another great energy saving option is to consider purchasing an Air Source Heat Pump
  • Check out our rebates for quality installation on new high SEER air conditioners.


Heating Tips

  • Set your thermostat to 68 degrees, health permitting. Lower the thermostat to 55 degrees at night or when you are not home. Reasonably priced setback thermostats are available to achieve these temperature changes automatically.
  • Clean your filter or replace a disposable filter once a month during winter months.
  • When the fireplace is not in use, close the damper.
  • During the winter, heat rises toward the ceiling and cool air settles on the floor. During winter months make sure your ceiling fan is rotated so that it produces an upward airflow. Depending on the room size and shape, there could be a 15 degree Fahrenheit difference between the floor and the ceiling.
  • Check out our Warm Floor Heating Systems.


Water Heater Tips

  • Repair leaking faucets promptly; a leaking faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
  • Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank and pipes, but be careful not to cover the thermostat.
  • Install non-aerating low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  • Heat your water with an electric water heater and save money every month by participating in MLEC’s Off-peak storage water heating program.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters sometimes come from the factory with high temperature settings. A setting of 115 degree Fahrenheit provides comfortable hot water for most uses.
  • Drain a quart of water from your water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take. Follow the manufacturer's advice.
  • Take more showers than baths. Bathing uses the most hot water in the average household. You use 15 - 25 gallons of hot water for a bath, but less than 10 gallons during a five minute shower.


Tips on Purchasing Light Bulbs

Did you know that lighting accounts for approximately 12% of the average household’s energy bill.  Make smart lighting choices. We are here to help.


ENERGY STAR Certified Light Bulbs:

  • Use about 70-90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs
  • Last 10 to 25 times longer and saves $30 to $80 in electricity costs over its lifetime
  • Meet strict quality and efficiency standards that are tested by accredited labs and certified by a third party
  • Produce about 70-90% less heat, so it’s safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling

LED Bulbs

LEDs provide excellent light quality while using at least 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, making them one of today’s most efficient lighting technologies.

New LED products are being developed at a rapid pace. Plus, since they give off virtually no heat, they can also help save on air conditioning costs. This cool-to-the-touch attribute also makes them the safest choice in home lighting.

Characteristics to consider about LEDs:

  • Turn on instantly, no warm-up time
  • Produce significantly less heat than incandescent bulbs, reducing air conditioning energy
  • Performance improves in the cold
  • No breakable filaments or glass

CFL Bulbs

ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs use 66% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer. Replacing a 100-watt incandescent with a 25-watt CFL can save you at least $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.

ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs operate at less than 100°F, they are also safer than typical halogen bulbs, which are frequently used in floor lamps or torchieres and burn at 1,000°F. Due to their high heat output, halogens can cause burns and fires. CFLs are just warm to the touch.

Choosing which energy-efficient bulb to purchase by lumens is more important than shopping by watts.

Watts measure the amount of energy required to light products, whereas lumens measure the amount of light produced. The more lumens in a light bulb, the brighter the light.

Lumen vs. Watts Chart

  • 40-watt incandescent bulb = 450 lumens
  • 60-watt incandescent bulb = 800 lumens
  • 75-watt incandescent bulb = 1100 lumens
  • 100-watt incandescent bulb = 1600 lumens
  • 150-watt incandescent bulb = 2600 lumens

Other Energy Saving Tips

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. They provide the same amount of light for less than a third of the energy used. Check with us for savings on these bulbs and recycling these bulbs.
  • While baking, do not open the oven. Every time the oven is opened, the temperature will drop 25 degrees Fahrenheit.


Powered by Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Logo