Start using energy more efficiently and lowering your costs by making some of these easy changes in your home:
- Open your window shades during cooler months to take advantage of natural heat from the sun.
- Replace or clean furnace filters once a month. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use.
- Insulate your water heater pipes. Using pipe insulation available from your local hardware store, insulate the first five feet of pipe coming out of the top of your water heater. If the whole length of exposed pipe between the water heater and the wall is less than five feet, insulate the full length.
- Take advantage of extra daylight – make sure only the lights you need are turned on.
The more you do to reduce your home’s energy use, the more money you can save. Take these additional steps so your home can do more with less:
- Reset your programmable thermostat to the coolest comfortable temperature to save on heating costs. Decrease the temperature when you go to bed or leave your home for the day.
- Lower your water heater’s maximum temperature to approximately 120 degrees. This will produce savings of 7-11% on water heating costs.
- Replace regular light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Switching one CFL can save $40 or more over the lifetime of the bulb and LED lights use at least 75% less energy than incandescent lighting.
- Make sure your attic and basement are properly insulated. If your insulation is just level with or below your floor joists (i.e., you can easily see your joists), you should add more.
- Leaks and drafts cause unnecessary energy use. Weatherize your home by caulking and weather-stripping all doors and windows. Also, use locks on your windows to make them tighter and draft resistant. According to the Department of Energy, if you reduce drafts in your home you can cut your energy bill by as much as 30%!
- Keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to prevent your heating unit from working twice as hard to warm the space.
- Have your cooling system serviced once a year and regularly replace furnace filters. During the winter months when heating is used most frequently, change or clean furnace filters once a month.
Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, ENERGY STAR, Consumer Energy Center