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Tennessee Valley Authority recommends energy efficiency tips to combat warmer weather

Among home projects this spring, some homeowners might be wondering how they can increase energy efficiency, putting an end to higher electricity bills. The Tennessee Valley Authority has a few tips and tricks people can use.

Scott Harrell, program manager for TVA’s EnergyRight Solutions organization, works in the residential sector to help people with making their homes more energy efficient. He said oftentimes people don’t even realize the habits that could be costing them big bucks.

“That DVD player or any particular device you might have that’s plugged into the wall is constantly drawing a load. Now it’s small, but if you look around the house, and you have a clock on your coffeepot, your DVD player … All those little things add up,” Harrell said. “You can save some money by unplugging those unneeded loads.”

Turning off the lights when leaving a room is a timeless tip.

“I’ve got kid, so they just love to leave all the lights on,” Harrell said. In addition to turning lights off, “if you have the old incandescent lights, and they burn out, replace them with LEDs. They last longer and consume considerably less electricity.”

Harrell also offers the following tips:

  • Turn the thermostat up to 72-73 degrees
  • Wait to run the dishwasher until it has a full load
  • Wash clothes in cool water instead of hot
  • On the stovetop, match pots and pans to the size of the burner
  • Change the air filter once a month

A popular no-cost tip is, in the springtime, to run ceiling fans instead of turning on the air conditioner. “It doesn’t lower the temperature, but moving air feels cooler to our skin,” Harrell explained.

Harrell also recommends people consider adding or improving their attic insulation, although that household chore does come with an expensive. “It’s usually not something many people think about because you don’t see your attic all that often,” Harrell pointed out. “Check the level of insulation in your attic, and if it’s low or non-existent, adding attic insulation would be a great thing to do now before it gets warm.”

Outdoor cooking can be another way to keep the house cool.

Harrell said for the most part, he thinks people are not aware of the many steps they can take toward greater energy efficiency.

“I think continuing education on everything from the simplest of things – turning the lights and running the ceiling fans – needs to be communicated,” he said. “We have first-time home buyers who have never owned a home before and never thought about these things, and people who have just done what their parents and grandparents have done, and never thought, ‘This could actually save me some money.’”

People can view more tips by visiting

“If you’re a homeowner, this is an easy way to save money for summer. Don’t be afraid to go out and try a few of these,” added TVA public relations representative Scott Fiedler. “Every dollar counts.”

Harrell said homeowners who do not feel comfortable doing things themselves can use EnergyRight’s eScore program. Specially trained, approved contractors can perform upgrades the right way. To get a home’s eScore go to

More cost-saving tips to improve energy efficiency

  • Take shorter, cooler showers to reduce hot water use
  • Air-dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher’s heated drying option
  • Set the refrigerator temperature between 35-39 degrees and the freezer between 0-5 degrees
  • Drain a gallon of water from water heater once a year to remove sediment and improve performance
  • Insulate heating and cooling ducts
  • Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors
  • Use power strips for electronics and small appliances
  • Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads
  • Keep curtains closed during the day on the south, west and east sides of the house to block sunlight and keep cool
  • Plant a tree. Shade trees on the south or southwest side of your home will keep it cooler