Pete Seyfer and Megan Turner, hosts of Alliant Energy's PowerHouse

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Alliant Energy's PowerHouse is an award-winning educational program designed to help you improve the energy efficiency, safety and comfort of your home.
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PowerHouse Tip of the Month

Every month we offer energy-efficient home improvement tips. These seasonal suggestions can help lower your bill all year long.

March energy-saving tip of the month: Lower your water heater temperature to 120 F

Here’s an easy way to save a lot of energy. Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees. It takes just a few simple steps.

Manufacturers usually set water heaters to 140 degrees, higher than necessary for most households. In fact, it can scald you. If a member of your household is immunocompromised or has a chronic respiratory infection, you may want to maintain the higher factory preset to avoid the very slight risk of legionellae bacteria. In general, though, experts consider 120 F safe.

When you lower the temperature, your water heater won’t have to work as hard. The amount you can save varies by household hot water use. The Department of Energy estimates you can save up to $30 annually for each 10 degree reduction. 

You’ll also reduce heat loss from the tank to the surrounding air, which means further savings. Plus, the lower temperature helps your appliance last longer; it slows corrosion and mineral buildup in tanks and pipes.

Related content: If you’re considering a new water heater, knowing how to shop for one can save you time and money. Get tips to help you choose the right energy-efficient water heater for you.

Pete from PowerHouse changing a light bulb

February energy-saving tip of the month: Swap your incandescent bulbs with LEDs 

Here’s a bright idea. Save money and energy by switching to LED lighting. The Department of Energy (DOE) says it’s the fastest way to cut energy costs. Here’s why and how to replace your old incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs.

Switch and save

According to the DOE, families can save up to $225 a year when they switch all their bulbs to LEDs. LEDs consume 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of light. Though the initial cost of LEDs is higher, they make up for it over time since they last about 25 times longer.

Watts versus lumens

When you shop for LEDs, look at lumens instead of watts. Incandescent bulbs are measured in watts, a measure of how much energy they use, but they lose a lot of that energy as heat. LEDs convert most of the energy they use to light and now it makes more sense to measure their brightness in lumens.

The higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb. To replace a common 60-watt incandescent bulb, look for an LED that emits around 800 lumens.

Check the label

The Lighting Facts label on an LED tells you not only its brightness and how much energy it uses, but also its color temperature, estimated lifespan and estimated yearly cost to use. That’s a lot of information that gives you a lot more control over your home lighting.

From specialty bulbs to dimmer switches and more, save in style with ENERGY STAR LEDs.

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March 2, 2024

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