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Minnesota Energy Tips

Minnesota Energy Tips is a twice-monthly feature that provides timely, practical energy tips for Minnesota consumers. It is intended to help residents save energy and save money. The tips, compiled by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources, are provided as a public service to newspapers and the general public.

Solar incentives are solarific in Minnesota

Jan. 16, 2015—The next two years in particular offer some attractive incentives to help reduce the cost for a new solar electric or solar thermal system.

New Year's resolution: Get an advanced energy audit

Jan. 2, 2015 - An energy audit is the first big step to identifying energy-saving measures and saving on your utility bills.

Some basic energy-saving tips for the holidays

Dec. 15, 2014—The Division of Energy Resources offers a few simple ways to conserve energy and save money this holiday season.

Energy-saving gifts for the holidays—gifts that will ‘keep on giving’

Dec. 1, 2014—A special gift will be even more appreciated if it is environmentally friendly and save energy for years to come.

Stay Warm MN is special resource for low-income Minnesotans, others seeking to manage energy costs

Nov. 17, 2014—Do you know someone who may struggle to pay utility bills and stay warm this winter? If so, direct them to the Stay Warm Minnesota webpage.

Act now to solve ice dams, prevent costly home repairs

Nov. 3, 2014—Although ice dams may be far from mind today, homeowners can act now to help prevent ice dams and costly water damage to ceilings and walls.

New energy efficiency standards make refrigerators, freezers a smart buy

Oct. 15, 2014—With new efficiency standards now in place, it may be a good time to replace that old energy-hog refrigerator or freezer.

Maintain your heating system to ensure safety, efficiency

Oct. 1, 2014—As the heating season kicks in, it is time to make sure your heating system is working properly.

When to replace your furnace or boiler

Sept. 15, 2014—Deciding when and how to replace your heating system requires research, so it's best to begin that process before your system dies.

Be prepared for the propane heating season ahead

Sept. 2, 2014—Minnesotans who rely on propane to heat their homes are urged to plan ahead to avoid the pitfalls of last year’s propane crisis.

Boost your energy IQ, visit State Fair’s energy exhibit

Aug. 15, 2014--Get answers to energy questions by visiting the “Improve Your Home” energy exhibit at this year’s Minnesota State Fair.

Tips for lowering cooling costs in your home

July 15, 2014—Installing a high efficiency air conditioner and taking several other actions will help trim cooling costs by up to 50 percent.

Fans: the first line of cooling

July 1, 2014—Often misused, fans are one of the most cost-effective ways to cool the most important thing in your house: You.

Saving energy at home when you’re away on summer vacation

June 16, 2014—Take some simple steps before leaving for summer vacation to save on your energy bills.

Energy Info Center: A trusted source on energy questions

June 2, 2014—You can get objective answers to a range of energy questions by contacting the Energy Information Center, a free service of the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Look for an ENERGY STAR clothes washer

May 15, 2014—More consumers are looking to ENERGY STAR-certified clothes washers to use less energy and water, save on utility bills, and help protect the environment.

Some good reasons to replace your old dishwasher

May 1, 2014—Dishwashers that are ENERGY STAR certified use less electricity and water and are easier on the environment than older, standard dishwashers.

Annual inspections, proper maintenance will enhance performance, safety of air conditioning systems

April 15, 2014—Proper maintenance of your air conditioning (AC) system will improve its performance and safety, reduce energy use and electric costs, and prolong the life of your system. 

Get an advanced energy assessment before making home improvements, upgrades

April 1, 2014—A home energy assessment is especially useful before embarking on energy improvements and remodeling.

DSIRE is go-to source on incentives for EE, RE projects

March 17, 2014—The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency is a comprehensive source of information on financial incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency.

Prevent future ice dams by sealing attic air leaks

March 4, 2014—With the mix of snow, thaws, and sub-zero temperatures, ice dams are once again a major problem for Minnesota homeowners. 

Keep vents, air inlets clear of snow, ice to keep furnaces operating safely

Feb. 18, 2014—Keep furnace exhaust vents, air intake hoods, and chimneys clear of snow and ice in order to keep the heat on and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

New incentive program gives solar a big boost in Minnesota

Feb. 3, 2014—Many Minnesotans now have added incentive to install solar electric or solar thermal systems in their home or business.

Before installing renewables, do basic energy efficiency

Jan. 15, 2014—It makes energy sense for homeowners to apply some simple, energy-saving measures first, before investing in a renewable energy system.

Beware the insulation contractor who does not include air sealing

Jan. 2, 2014—Consumers should beware of insulation contractors who offer to insulate attics without checking for and sealing attic air leaks.

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning

Dec. 16, 2013— Each year about 500 people in the United States dies from exposure to carbon monoxide, a silent, odorless, colorless gas. This article offers tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Energy-saving tips for the holidays

Dec. 2, 2013— In addition to replacing traditional incandescent decorative lights with high-efficient ENERGY STAR-qualified LED bulbs, there are many other ways to practice energy conservation during the holidays.

LED holiday lights: An energy- and money-saving tradition

November 15, 2013 — Replacing traditional incandescent decorative lights with high-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs is one great way to conserve energy during the holidays.

Selecting a contractor for home energy improvement projects

November 1, 2013 — Be precise about the job expectations and the products and services being purchased and be diligent in checking the credentials and integrity of your contractor.

Before the Temperatures Fall - Now is the Time to Prevent Ice Dams and Costly Home Repairs

October 15, 2013 — The time to prevent ice dams from forming is now - before the snow flies and settles on your roof. 

Low-income Minnesotans can prevent heating shutoff, apply for heating assistance

October 1, 2013 — Low-income Minnesotans who may have trouble paying their heating bills this heating season can act now to (1) ensure that their heat stays on and (2) apply for help to pay their heating bills.

Cold Weather Rule protection. Minnesota has a Cold Weather Rule that takes effect on Oct. 15 and protects residential utility customers from having their heat shut off through April 15, 2014.

Maintain furnaces and boilers to ensure safety, efficiency

September 16, 2013 — The heating season is right around the corner, so it’s time to make sure your heating system is working properly. Heating and cooling account for about 55 percent of the energy used in a typical U.S. home, the largest energy expense for most homes. Furnaces and boilers, the two most common ways to heat homes, should be inspected and adjusted on an annual basis to maintain efficiency and safety.

How can I save on my water heating bill?

September 4, 2013 — There are several basic ways to cut your water heating bill, such as use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, and buy a new, more efficient water heater. 

Don’t miss the Home Energy exhibit at this year’s State Fair

August 15, 2013 — Whether discovering money-saving energy tips or scouting out renewable energy options, this year’s Home Energy exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair promises to raise your energy IQ by a few hundred megawatts.

How can I save money on my lighting bill?

August 1, 2013 — Lighting a typical Minnesota home accounts for about 10 percent of the energy needed to power one’s home. One of the best ways to reduce your electricity bill is to replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR-labeled compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs). 

Do ceiling fans save energy in our homes?

July 15, 2013 — Yes, ceiling fans can help save energy—but only in the summer. A ceiling fan during hot, sticky days creates a wind chill effect that will make you feel more comfortable in your home, even if it’s also cooled by natural ventilation or air conditioning.

No-cost ways to beat the heat, conserve energy

July 1, 2013 — There are many simple no-cost actions steps you can take this summer to conserve energy and reduce your utility bills. Here is a list of way to beat the heat and save money.

Saving on cooling, heating costs by using a programmable thermostat   

June 17, 2013 — You can save on your cooling and heating bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

When is it time to replace that old energy-hog refrigerator?    

June 3, 2013 — Many refrigerators and freezers will continue to operate for 15-20 years or even longer. But whether or not these appliances are really working efficiently is another question. It is probably time to replace your old energy-hog refrigerator when it becomes too expensive to operate.

Some simple measures to save on your electric bill   

May 15, 2013 — Televisions, DVD players, and computers are common household devices that can use a lot of electricity, even when turned off. Some older TVs, for instance, can use up to 40 percent of the full “on” power when turned off.

Look for ENERGY STAR® label for appliances, electronics, lighting  

May 1, 2013 — Whether shopping for a new refrigerator, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, computer, TV, lighting products, clothes washer, windows, doors, and more, always look for the ENERGY STAR® label. 

Insulation can cut heating and cooling costs 15 percent or more 

April 15, 2013 — Adding insulation, combined with sealing air leaks, is one of the most cost-effective energy-saving improvements you can make to an existing home. It can cut heating and cooling costs by 15 percent or more.

Conserving energy is one way to focus on your finances

April 1, 2013 — April is Financial Literacy Month, a campaign to help focus on our finances and develop healthy financial habits. One of the best ways to save money—month after month—is to conserve energy.

Fireplace efficiency

March 15, 2013 — Tips to improve the operation and safety of your fireplace and to reduce energy losses. 

Sealing air leaks—the best way to conserve energy

March 1, 2013 — Air that leaks through the ceiling, walls, foundation, and other areas—known as air infiltration—is a significant source of heating and cooling losses.

Advanced home energy assessment: Your first step to energy efficiency, cost savings

Feb. 15, 2013 — Many people assume that there is little they can do to significantly reduce their energy use and increase the efficiency of their homes.