Tips to Save
- Up to 45% of your home's energy costs are generated by heating and cooling. Every degree you dial your thermostat back saves from 2-3 percent.
- Programmable thermostats maintain the comfort of your home when you're there and reduce energy costs when you're not. They can save from 12-25 percent on energy costs
- Set your thermostat from 65°-70°. Dial it back 10° overnight or when you plan to be away from home for more than one hour.
- Ceiling and room fans help circulate cool or warm air around the room and allow you to adjust your thermostat to conserve energy and costs.
- To balance comfort and efficiency, set your thermostat in the 68-70° F when heating your home.
- Insulation should be judged by R-value rather than just inches. The higher the R-value, the better the insulating properties of the material. Use higher density insulation, such as rigid foam boards, in cathedral ceilings and on exterior walls.
- Don't block vents or ducts inside the house to assure air flow in the home.
- Keep fallen leaves, grass clippings, foliage and other debris away from your outdoor air conditioning or heat pump unit. Keep the conditioner's coils clean following manufacturer's instructions.
- When leaving for a long weekend or vacation during the summer, raise the temperature on your thermostat. This will save you several dollars.
- Caulk and install weatherstripping around windows and doors to close air gaps.
- Installing storm windows can reduce your heat loss through the windows by 25% to 50%.
- During the winter close your curtains and shades at night. Open them during the day.
- Make sure attic and crawl spaces are adequately ventilated. Poor ventilation will add to your summer cooling costs. It also can trap moisture in your attic, making insulation less effective.
- Change filters in air conditioning units and heat pumps at least once a month.
- Use bath and kitchen fans sparingly when the air conditioner is operating to avoid pulling humid air into the house.
- For every degree you raise the thermostat setting in the summer, you can expect to cut your energy consumption by 3 to 5 percent.
- Deciduous trees planted on the south and west will help keep your house cool in the summer and allow sun to shine in the windows in the winter.
- Deflect winter winds by planting evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west sides of your house.
- Toaster ovens and microwaves use less energy than full-sized ovens. Use them when cooking or warming small portions of food.
- Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
- Run your dishwasher, oven, washer and dryer in the evening when electricity rates may be lower and heat from the appliances won't increase demands on your air conditioner.
- Use the "rinse hold" on your dishwasher only when necessary. It uses three to seven gallons of hot water each time you use it.
- Use glass cookware for baking and reduce the cooking temperature by 25° F.
- Leaving room in your refrigerator or freezer for cold air to circulate will help the appliance operate properly.
- Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
- Close your refrigerator door on a dollar bill. If you can pull it out easily, you may need to replace the door gasket. Tight sealing gaskets keep cold air in and lower energy costs.
- Use the lowest appropriate temperature setting when drying clothes and avoid partial loads and over drying clothes.
- Keep your water heater set at the lowest temperature that still provides the amount of hot water you need. In most cases 120° F is sufficient.
- Switch to low-flow shower heads to reduce the amount of water that is used, while increasing pressure, to get the most from your water heating system.
- Repair leaky hot water faucets promptly. They can waste gallons of water in a short period.
- Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs use 50% to 75% less electricity to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs and last eight to 10 times longer.
- Using white lamp shades helps make a room appear brighter with lower energy bulbs.
- Consider skylights for lighting. New models prove to be energy efficient and provide enough sunlight to light a 30 x 30 foot room without increasing heat levels.
- Use solar powered outdoor lights. During the day the sun charges the panel attached to the fixtures, and sensors turn the lights on at dusk. Your electric bill is not affected.
Stop the gaps in your walls.
Gaps around doors and windows are like holes in your walls - they let cold air in and heated air out.
- Caulk around windows and doors, along the bottom of your siding. In general, silicone caulks work best, latex are easiest to apply and oil-based are cheapest.
- Weatherstrip around doors,windows and the access to your attic.
- Caulk cracks in masonry walls and foundations.
- Caulk around pipes and wires where utilities enter your home.
- Add or replace door sweeps and thresholds.
- Repair broken or cracked window glass.
- If you don't have tight-sealing windows, apply insulating plastic sheathing.
- Add foam gaskets to electrical outlets and wall switches on exterior walls.
Take the heat off your furnace.
- Gas or electric, your furnace works best when it moves air efficiently.
- Schedule a heating contractor to tune up your furnace each year. Also have your thermostat checked for accuracy.
- Replace dirty disposable filters or wash permanent filters with mild soap.
- Clean room registers and air returns. Make sure drapes, rugs or furniture aren't blocking air flow.
- Clean all combustion air-intake openings.
Cut energy loss at the tank.
Heating water accounts for another 20 percent of your energy bills. And in winter,your tank works hardest.
- Dialing the thermostat back to 110° - 112° can save from $10 to $20 per year.
- Insulate the tank with a water heater wrap.
- Insulate hot water pipes.Also insulate the cold water intake pipe above your hot water heater.
- Install flow-restricting showerheads or faucet aerators.
Make saving a daily routine.
The easiest and cheapest way to save is to change the ways you operate your home in winter. You'll not only save money, you'll be more comfortable, too.
- Open shades and drapes on the south and west sides during the daytime. Close them at night.
- Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
- Limit the times you open and close doors to the outside.
- Keep doors to attic, basement and garage closed.
- Wear warmer clothes - it's cheaper than dialing up the thermostat.