Energy efficient improvements can yield long-term cost savings and increase the value of your home. Energy saving tips, like these below, show you how simple it is to reduce your home's energy use by making small changes to your daily routines. After a few weeks, you’ll hardly remember you’re doing them!
Heating & Cooling
Regulating the thermostats in your home can have a major impact on your monthly energy bill. Three to five percent more energy is used for each degree your furnace thermostat is set above 68 degrees and for each degree the air conditioner is set below 78 degrees.
Programmable thermostats will help you control your heating and air-conditioning more effectively. These units, available in hardware stores, are easy to install and easy to program to automatically turn your system down or off while you're away or asleep and to turn it on or up at any time you set. Set your thermostats as high (or low, depending on the season) as you can comfortably to minimize unnecessary energy use.
- Clean or replace furnace and air conditioner filters regularly, following the manufacturer's instructions.
- If your old air conditioner is in need of replacement, look for an Energy Star®-rated model. Learn more on how to properly size a room air conditioner.
- Close and lock windows when heating or cooling your home. Install shades, awnings or sun screens on windows facing south and/or west to block summer light. In winter, open shades on sunny days to help warm rooms.
- Ceiling or portable fans and open windows can cool down your home for less than a traditional air conditioner.
- If you have a fireplace, close the damper when it’s not in use. Try not to use the fireplace and central heating system at the same time.
- Kitchen hood fans and bathroom exhaust fans should be used when cooking or showering; they help remove excess moisture from your home.
- Put an insulating blanket around your water heater. Always check the manufacturer’s e manual to be sure it can be wrapped; some newer models should not be wrapped.
- If you do not have a dishwasher, set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or "low".
- Install energy-saver showerheads. These showerheads save water and the energy required to heat the water.
- If you have a dishwasher, set your water thermostat to 140 degrees or ‘normal. You may be able to use 120 degree water if the user manual allows it.
- Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. A single dripping faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water.
- Use Light Emitting Diode (LED) or Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs). You can lower your lighting bill by converting to newer energy-efficient, low-wattage,LED or CFL lighting and fixtures.
- Use natural light as much as possible. Insulated or sheer drapes and blinds can allow varying levels of light in rooms, keeping the need for bulbs to a minimum throughout the day.
- Turn lights off when you’re not using a room.
- Use LEDs or CFLs where possible. These new bulbs offer superior performance, use less energy, and last longer than traditional light bulbs. Make sure to recycle CFLS as directed.
- If nightlights are needed, choose the lowest possible wattage. There is a wide variety available and some come with built-in light sensors that turn the nightlight off when there is enough light in the area.
Home Insulation & Weatherization
- Insulate ceilings to R-49 standards if your attic has less than R-19. Click here for insulation R-values and what they mean.
- Caulk windows, doors and anywhere air leaks in or out. Don’t caulk around your water heater and furnace exhaust pipes.
- Weather-strip around windows and doors. Wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct wrap or mastic sealant.
- Replace old windows with new high performance windows.
- Look to common areas, like ductwork, fireplace flues, kitchen and dryer vents, plumbing fixtures, pipes and wires, gaps between floors, walls and ceilings, crawl spaces, doors and windows, and attic openings for potential air leaks.