HOW YOU CAN SAVE ON YOUR UTILITY BILL
The Hannibal Board of Public Works adheres to the commitment of providing safe and reliable utility services for reasonable prices. Through research and planning, our Board of Directors and management team strive to secure long term, full-service contracts from regional power providers. Our skilled operators constantly monitor and maintain high drinking water standards and ensure the proper treatment of all community wastewater. We know our customers depend on these vital resources every day.
We want to share these suggestions on how you can conserve these resources. You have the ability to make small adjustments in your daily routine and foster new habits to manage your monthly utility costs. These suggestions range from no-cost to low cost to long term investments and should aid you in taking more control over your utility usage.
NO COST AND LOW COST OPTIONS
An audit is a simple way to say you are reviewing your historic usage and trends. A quick way to start is to subscribe to our SmartHub app. Visit our SmartHub page on our website to learn more. This tool will allow you to see your usage patterns along with weather data to give you better insight on how temperature changes affect your usage. If you have questions about your usage or would like us to send you more details, please contact our office.
- Visually inspect all windows and exterior doors for missing caulk or windows putty
- Check the bottoms of exterior doors and thresholds and replace when necessary
- Have a trained professional inspect the windows and door to determine if they are in need of serious repairs or replacement
On a windy day, safely use a lit stick of incense to check for air leaks. If the smoke flows in a horizontal direction while holding the stick close to windows and doors it can help identify an air leak.
- If you have a fireplace, close the damper when not in use *FREE TIP*
- Install foam gaskets or insulation behind lights switches or outlets located on exterior walls
- Do you have a kitchen exhaust fan? If so, use a magnetic cover to keep air from escaping when not in use
- Seal holes and cracks in exterior walls, crawlspaces, and basements where HVAC ducts or plumbing lines penetrate
- Use dense foam board to cover up crawlspace vents
- Install proper weatherstripping around the perimeter of attic access hatches and pull-down stairs
- Ensure all vents are not covered by furniture or curtains or rugs so air can circulate *FREE TIP*
- Seal leaky duct connections properly using a foil backed tape. It may sound odd, but the normal gray duct tape will dry out and come loose so it should not be used.
- Limit your use of space heaters. Yes they produce heat in close proximity however they consume a lot of electricity.
- Set the thermostat setting to maintain reasonable comfort levels when you are at home. Reducing the temperature by 2 degrees in the winter or increasing by 2 degrees in the summer can make a difference. *FREE TIP*
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat to control temperature when you are away from home or on vacation.
- If you have windows that receive direct sunlight in the winter, leave the shades open to allow heat into the home. In the summer, keep them closed during the day to block out the heat. *FREE TIP*
- In the winter, wear layers of clothing to keep warm and throw on an extra blanket at night. In the summer, wear loose fitting clothes to stay cooler.
- Make sure to keep weeds, grass, bushes, and other obstructions away from your outdoor A/C condensing unit. *FREE TIP*
- Plant deciduous shade trees on the south and west sides of your home to shade the house from the sun in the summer month.
- Make sure to use the proper HVAC filters and change them according to the manufacturer recommendations or when they are dirty.
- Have your entire system inspected by a certified HVAC technician to ensure it is operating properly.
- Clean the coils on the bottom or back of your refrigerator regularly. *FREE TIP*
- Recommended temperature settings for your refrigerator is 37 to 40 degrees and 5 degrees for a freezer. *FREE TIP*
- Inspect and clean your dryer vent discharge tube on your dryer periodically. Build up lent can lead to longer drying times and can be a fire hazard.
- Scrape off food debris from your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. This will save water. *FREE TIP*
- Run the washer, dryer, and dishwasher only when you have full loads. *FREE TIP*
- Towel or air dry dishes instead of using the drying cycle feature on your dishwasher.
- Test your refrigerator door gasket by closing the door over a piece of paper. If you can easily remove the paper with the door properly closed, consider replacing the gasket.
- Install timers or motion sensors on your exterior light fixtures.
- Turn off non-essential lights. Sounds easy but many people forget. Just add up the number of individual lights in your home that are left on each day. Turning them off will reduce your usage each month. *FREE TIP*
- Upgrade your light bulbs to LEDs and look for the Energy Star logo. Most LEDs use 25% less power when compared to incandescent bulbs and last longer too.
- Do not leave the television on for background noise or when you are not watching it. *FREE TIP*
- Set your computer to hibernate or standby mode after 30 minutes of inactivity and set the monitor to less time. Screen savers generally do not save energy and some screen savers are graphic-intense and use more energy to display the images. *FREE TIP*
- Unplug laptops or cell phone chargers when not in use. They draw power even when they sitting idle. *FREE TIP*
- Since some appliances use electricity at all times, plug them into a power saving electric strip that can be shut off when they are not needed.
- Reduce the temperature setting on your hot water heater to 120 degrees or less. *FREE TIP*
- Drain a quart of water from your water heater every 3 months to remove any sediment. *FREE TIP*
- Do not leave water running in the sink when you brush your teeth each morning and night. *FREE TIP*
- Wash clothes in cool or cold water whenever possible.
- Try to take showers instead of baths and limit the shower to 7 minutes or less
- If you have a leaky faucet, repair it promptly.
- If you hear water running into your toilet, check for a leak. You can use a few drops of food coloring in the tank to see if it appears in the bowel. If so, the flapper valve may need to be replaced.
- Always check for leaks if you hear water running or a hissing sound and make necessary repairs.
- Install an insulation blanket around the water heater to help retain the heat
- Install a low-flow showerhead in your bathroom.
- Replace any toilet manufactured before 1994. Older toilets use 3.5 gallons or more per flush, while newer WaterSense labeled models use only 1.28 gallons or less per flush.
All of the above tips are either free or inexpensive ways to better prepare your home and family for the ever-changing Missouri weather and will help you achieve savings on your utility expenses. If you are wanting to save more, here are few long term investments that will give you a return in the form of reduced energy costs. Some of these you may be able to accomplish on your own and some may require a professional.
LONG TERM INVESTMENTS
Here are the minimum recommendations
- Attic Insulation: R-38 (12 to 15 inches)
- Floor Insulation: R-19 above any unheated areas (6 inches)
- Crawlspace Wall Insulation: R-10 with vapor barrier (foam board)
- Duct Insulation: R-13 in unheated areas
- Rim Joist Insulation: R-13 (4 inches)
- Consider having a professional perform a blower door test on the home to determine if there are leaks around windows or doors that need to be sealed better.
- Have a thermal imaging scan performed on the house to see if there are places where heat is escaping
- Install storm windows to provide an additional insulation barrier and to reduce air leakage
- Replace your old, leaky windows with new, energy-efficient double pane windows
- Insulate all duct work that is in an unconditioned space such as your attic or crawlspace.
- Consider having the ductwork replaced if it is old to eliminate pin holes or other voids that cannot be easily discovered.
- When you are in the market for any new appliance, make sure to pay attention to the energy star rating and the big yellow rating sticker.
- If your water heater is over 10 years old, consider replacing it with a more energy efficient model.
- Replace your air conditioning unit with a new unit with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration or SEER rating of 14 or higher.
- Replace your furnace with a new unit with an AFUE Annual Fuel Utilization or AFUE rating of 95% or higher. This is a rating on overall efficiency.