Home Energy Saving Tips
No-cost ways to save Energy and Money:
- Check the furnace or air conditioner (AC) each month, and clean or replace it as needed.
- During the hot months, keep window coverings on the south, east and west windows. In winter, let it shine in.
- Glass furnace doors help stop heat from being lost up the chimney. Also close the damper when not in use.
- When cooking, keep the lids on pots. Better yet use the microwave instead.
- Dress appropriately for the weather, and set your thermostat to the lowest possible comfortable setting. On winter nights, put an extra blanket on the bed and turn down your thermostat even more.
- In summer, use fans whenever possible instead of AC, and ventilate at night this way when practical. Fans cost less to use than AC.
- About 15 percent of an average home energy bill goes to hot water. To save hot water, take five-minute showers instead of baths. Do only full loads when using the clothes washer or dishwasher.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater. It should be set at "warm", so that a thermostat held under running water reads no more than 130 degrees.
- Only heat or cool the rooms that you need - close the vents and doors of unused rooms.
- Unplug seldom-used appliances, like an extra refrigerator in the basement or garage that contains just a few items. You may save around $10.00 every month on your utility bill.
- Use power strips to switch off television, home theater equipment, and stereos when you're not using them. Even when you think these products are off, together, their "standby" consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.
Low-cost ways to save energy and money:
- Install low-flow showerheads and sink aerators to reduce hot water use.
- Seal and weather strip your windows and doors to ensure that you're not wasting energy on heat or air conditioning that escapes through the leaks to the outdoors.
- Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring goes through exterior walls.
- A water tank insulation wrap costs about $20.00 and helps hold the heat inside. Add pre-cut pipe insulation to exposed pipes into your water heater - it's cheap and easy to install.
- Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
- Storm windows can reduce heat lost by single-paned windows by 25-50 percent during the winter. As an alternative, you can improve your windows temporarily with plastic sheeting installed on the inside.
- When buying new products, look for the Energy Star® label, found on more than 40 different products such as TVs, furnaces, cell phones, refrigerators, air conditioners and more.
- Incandescent light bulbs are outdated; 95% of the energy used goes to heating the bulb. Replace your five most used light bulbs with Energy Star compact florescent bulbs to save $60 each year in energy costs.
- Trees that lose their leaves in the fall give protection from the summer sun and permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your home. Plant trees on the south, east and/or west sides of your home. Be sure to shade the AC unit. Create a windbreak with evergreen trees and shrubs to stop chilling winds.
The Ultimate Checklist
Saving Money by Reducing Energy Bills
- Weatherize & Insulate: Save up to 20% of your heating and cooling costs.
- Improve your appliances and electronics: Appliances account for about 20% of household energy use.
- Improve your windows: Efficient windows can lower your heating and cooling bill up to 30%.
- Improve your Mechanical Systems: Up to half of your energy goes just for heating and cooling.
- Landscape: Save $100 - $250 each year.
Sources: Dept. of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, & Alliance to Save Energy