Conservation Tips

  • Water Conservation

    • Check your toilet for leaks.
      Put 10 drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. Don’t flush for 15 minutes. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired.
    • Stop using the toilet as a wastebasket.
      Flushing the toilet unnecessarily wastes up to 5 to 7 gallons each time. Instead, use your wastebasket for small bits of trash.
    • Maintain your toilet.
      If the handle on your toilet frequently sticks, allowing water to flow through constantly, repair or replace it.
    • Check faucets and pipes for leaks.
      Even the smallest drip from a worn washer can waste 20 or more gallons a day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons a day. Do a thorough inspection of the pipes and fittings in your apartment or house for even the smallest leaks, and make sure they are repaired immediately.
    • Take shorter showers.
      Long, hot showers can needlessly waste five to ten gallons every minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off.
    • Rinse your razor in the sink.
      Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your blade just as well as running water and is far less wasteful.
    • Install low flow restrictors.
      Installing low flow restrictors on all of the faucets in your unit can reduce water use by up to 40-60%.
    • Wash only full loads.
      Use your automatic dishwasher and washing machines only for full loads.
      If you wash dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing.
      If you have two sinks, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you only have one sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a pan full of hot water.
    • Don’t let the faucet run while you clean your vegetables.
      Just rinse them in a plugged sink or in a pan of clean water.
    • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator.
      Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is very wasteful.
  • Heating Conservation

    • Adjust thermostat settings.
      During the heating season, set your thermostat between 65° and 68° during the day and 60° F before going to bed. People over 65, infants, and people with certain illnesses risk hypothermia at temperatures under 65°. If you think you are at risk, consult your doctor before turning down your thermostat. During the cooling season, set the air conditioner at no lower than 78°.
    • Keep your radiators clean.
      Dirt and dust absorb heat and reduce heat output. Since radiator covers block airflow, you need to remove them when the radiators are in use. Placing radiator reflectors on the wall behind the radiator unit increases the amount of heat reflected back into the room.
    • Re-arrange your furniture.
      Arrange your furniture and drapes so they do not block or obstruct registers (vents), radiators, or baseboard heaters.
    • Perform filter maintenance.
      Clean or replace your air filters at least twice per season.
    • Use air deflectors.
      If heated air from a forced air system enters your apartment through an inconveniently located register (for example, under a piece of inconveniently located furniture), you should direct the air out into the room with an air deflector. This is an inexpensive scoop-shaped device that attaches over the register, typically with magnets.
    • Take advantage of solar heat.
      If your unit has windows that see sunshine during the daytime, open the drapes or blinds to let the sunshine in and help heat your unit, then close them at night.
    • Check your seals on doors and windows.
      If your main door opens to either an unheated hallway or directly to the outdoors, make your door airtight. Warm air can escape between the door frame and the wall. If this is the case in your apartment, caulk between the frame and the wall. The loss of warm air is frequently greatest under the bottom edge of your door. A low-cost alternative to a door sweep is a draft guard. This is a closed tube of cloth filled with sand that is laid against the bottom of your door.
    • Weatherproof your windows.
      Weatherproof your windows to decrease heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Caulk around the window to decrease heat loss or gain. In the winter, use plastic sheeting over your windows to act as temporary storm windows. Reasonably priced commercial mounting kits are available. For greater savings, you may want to invest in a moveable insulation such as insulated curtains.
    • Dress for the season.
      Dress for the season, if your apartment feels chilly, try putting on another layer of clothing, such as a sweater or jacket, before turning up the thermostat. In warm weather, wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing that allows air to pass across your skin, evaporating moisture and cooling you.
    • Winterize your room air conditioner.
      It can let in drafts if left in place or uncovered during winter. You should use an inside cover in addition to (or, if you cannot safely reach outside of your unit, in place of) an outdoor cover.
    • Plug your fireplace.
      If you have a fireplace without glass doors, consider plugging it when it is not in use. Even a closed damper leaks a large amount of heated air to the outdoors.
  • Cooling Conservation

    • Adjust thermostat settings.
      Keep your thermostat between 78-80 degrees. You lose approximately 5% more energy for every degree your thermostat is set above 78 degrees.
    • Keep your filter clean.
      If you use a room air conditioner, check the filter at least once at the beginning of the cooling season. If it is clogged, your unit will operate inefficiently and run longer than necessary. Clean the filter or replace it, and continue to monitor at least once a month during the cooling season.
    • Use a window or ceiling fan instead.
      When the temperature outside is comfortable, use a window or ceiling fan instead of the air conditioner. A fan only requires a tenth of the energy needed to run an air conditioner. Even if you use and air conditioner, a fan can help circulate the cool air for much more efficient cooling.
    • Weatherproof your windows and doors.
      Leaks around your windows and door seals can cause a substantial amount of cooling loss, and are very easy to repair or prevent.
    • Avoid heat generating appliances.
      Try to not use major heat generating appliances during the hot part of the day. Things such as your cloth dryer, oven and dish washer can all generate a lot of heat, which can make it harder to cool your unit.
    • Keep unnecessary lights, televisions and other electronics off.
      Whenever possible, keep unnecessary lights, televisions and other electronics off. These generate heat as well, and at the same time use unnecessary energy themselves.