Energy Saving Tips for the Seasons
With energy prices rising across the country, now is a good time to learn how to use energy wisely. Here are some simple tips to help you reduce your energy consumption:
- During the winter months, set your thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. You can save 3 percent on your heating costs for every degree you reduce the temperature below 70 degrees.
Special Advice to Heat Pump Owners: Heat pumps need to stay at a constant setting, unless you have a programmable electronic heat pump thermostat with adaptive recovery. Check with your heating or air conditioning contractor to determine the type of thermostat you have.
- Winterize windows with weather stripping (for all moveable joints) and caulk (for non-moving parts). Also, install a window kit to the inside of your windows to help keep cold air out and warm air in.
- Change filters once a month. A well-maintained heating system can save money and increase the comfort level in your home.
- When you cozy up to a crackling fire on a cold winter day, you may be losing more heat than you are generating if your fireplace is not airtight.
- Inspect ductwork for any air leakage. If you do feel air leaking at joints, use silver metal duct tape to seal them. You could save up to 10% of your heating costs by eliminating those leaks.
- During hot weather, a central air conditioner can account for 30% of your energy bill. Check the air filter regularly – a clean air filter improves system efficiency, which should lead to energy savings.
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees, a reasonably comfortable and energy-efficient indoor temperature.
- Have a professional check your air conditioning system to ensure that it works properly and is not leaking coolant.
- Be sure all windows are shut and outside doors are closed when the AC is on.
- It is important not to have lamps, televisions or other heat sources close to the air conditioner thermostat – heat from these sources may cause the air conditioner unit to run longer than it should.
- Check to ensure that no furniture or other obstacles are blocking ducts or fans. This will enable cooled air to circulate freely, making your home more comfortable.
- Your water heater is the third highest energy expense in your home. If the water temperature is set at 140°F, turning it down to 130°F will save a few dollars each month.
- Using a microwave to cook meals uses about half the energy of a conventional oven.
- Washing clothes in cold water instead of hot is another energy saving tip that can save you about $50 per year.
- Another way to save energy in the laundry room is to put a dry towel in the dryer with each load of wet clothes. The towel will absorb dampness and reduce drying time, saving energy and money.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with more efficient, compact, fluorescent ones. Besides saving energy, you will also save money in the long run, since the life span of a fluorescent bulb is substantially longer.
- If you have a crawl space, inspect it regularly to ensure that the insulation inside is dry. When insulation gets wet, its optimal effectiveness is significantly reduced. Be sure to find the source of the moisture and replace any damaged insulation.
- Vacuum the coils on your refrigerator at least every three months. The dirt build-up makes the refrigerator work harder to keep the contents cool and therefore uses more energy.