Tuning up your equipment. Turning down the heat. Training yourself to turn off lights. There are so many things you can do to save energy around your home. May of them are fast and FREE and ALL of them are effective in ensuring maximum comfort, energy savings and peace of mind all year long.
So where do you begin?
Start with a great service you get from John C. Flood:
Take advantage of our money-saving, comprehensive Energy Management Plans, which shield you from expensive out-of-pocket costs
Reach for the ENERGY STAR®:
2. Upgrade to ENERGY STAR® energy efficient heating equipment, which can save 10-40% on heating and cooling bills and may also improve the comfort level in your home. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR®, saved about $50 billion on their energy bills.
Keep your comfort system properly maintained:
3. Call us for your heating system's annual tune-up and cooling system's annual check-up.
4. Schedule a comfort system efficiency test.
Conserve heat around your home during colder months:
5. Let the sun shine. Windows on the south side of the house get the most sunlight. Eastern windows get sunlight in the morning. West facing windows receive sunlight in the afternoon. Open shades and drapes during the daytime and close when the sun goes out.
6. Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors when not in use.
7. Install glass doors on the fireplace for added insulation.
8. Have your fireplace chimney cleaned and inspected regularly, and burn only fully dried hardwoods for the most heat output.
9. Remove or cover air conditioning window units, or cover them well.
10. Correct air leaks around windows, doors and electrical outlets.
11. Repair weather stripping and caulking.
12. Check your threshold for any gaps between it and the door. Use a bottom seal that can be attached to the bottom of the door - it should brush up against the floor to seal up the threshold. It virtually stops drafts.
13. Keep radiators free of dust for top efficiency.
14. Turn your thermostat back when not at home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save about 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill-a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.
15. Get an automatic setback or programmable thermostat, which, when used properly, can shave $100 off your annual energy bills.
16. Make sure rugs and furniture don't block the air circulation from baseboard outlets.
17. Replace any cracked glass in your windows.
18. Seal off your attic circulating fan with polyethylene and tape.
19. Make sure your ceiling has at least six inches of good thermal insulation.
20. Install a water heater blanket for greater heating efficiency.
21. Wrap your pipes, to guard against heat loss and prevent them from freezing.
22. Keep ductwork in good repair with duct tape or duct insulation. Your home could be losing up to 25% of its hot air before it reaches the vents!
23. Put clear plastic over the inside or outside of your windows during the heating season to reduce heat loss and increase comfort. Remove in summer.
24. Re-glaze window glass (glazing is the putty that seals the glass to the frame). You can use a putty knife or glazing gun. Re-glazing stops air infiltration on the sash (window frame) itself. You can then install a V-strip to stop any leaking that would go around the sash. This also makes the window easier to operate up and down.
25. Avoid using space heaters. They're expensive to operate, and can be dangerous, too.
Conserve energy during warmer months:
26. Keep drapes, blinds and shades closed during the day to block out the sun.
27. Clear furniture away from air conditioning vents, and close unused rooms and their vents.
28. Install an attic fan - it can cool your attic by nearly 30°!
29. Keep cool air in by installing insulation and weather-stripping.
30. Install reflective window coatings to reflect heat away from your home.
31. Cook on the grill to keep cooking heat outside.
32. When cooking inside, use a microwave instead of a conventional oven - it uses less than half the power and cooks food in about one-fourth the time.
33. Turn the air conditioner thermostat up to at least 78° or higher, or use a programmable thermostat. Turn air conditioners off when no one is home.
34. Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air conditioner thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, and causes the air conditioning to run longer than necessary, using more energy.
35. Plant shade trees due west of west windows - it could reduce your air conditioning bills by up to 25%.
Conserve energy around your home all year long:
36. Change or clean heating and a/c filters monthly. Dirty filters put unnecessary strain on the unit and can increase operating costs.
37. Close off rooms you don't use - and remember to shut the vents inside.
38. Turn off the lights if you leave a room for more than a few seconds.
39. Use compact fluorescent lights. They last up to 10-13 times longer than standard bulbs and use 75% less energy.
40. Install dimmer switches. In addition to making for more romantic dinners, they'll extend the life of your bulbs and help you save up to 60% on your lighting costs.
41. Install motion activated switches that automatically turn lights on and off.
42. Lower the temperature of your water heater from 140° (medium) to 120° (low). You'll save 3-5% in water heating costs for each 10° reduction. Or consider a timer to turn your water heater off when not in use.
43. Install water-conserving fixtures, such as showerheads, faucets and toilets.
44. Fix leaky faucets, especially hot water faucets. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons per month - more than a person uses in two weeks.
45. Take showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower will use about 7.5 gallons of hot water; filling a bathtub can use up to 20 gallons.
46. Install ceiling fans. They could cut your energy bill by 40%. And reversing fans for upward airflow will move warm air down in winter!
47. Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer. Also, cover food in the fridge; uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
48. Don't leave the fridge door open! Every time you do, up to 30% of the cooled air can escape. The same can be said for your oven.
49. Use less water and use cooler water when doing laundry. The warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half.
50. Run your clothes or dishwasher only when there's a full load. Always clean the dryer lint filter after every load. Dryer filters full of lint will cause your dryer to work harder and longer; using more energy.
Follow these links for some more tips:
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Next to heating or cooling, water heating is typically the largest energy user in the home. As homes have become more and more energy efficient during the past 20 years, the percentage of energy used for water heating has steadily increased. This chapter takes a look at the high-efficiency water heaters available and how you can reduce water heating costs with your present water heater.
An Association of Appliance & Equipment Manufacturers
TIAP - Energy Tax Incentives
The Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP), sponsored by a coalition of public interest nonprofit groups, government agencies, and other organizations in the energy efficiency field, is designed to give consumers and businesses information they need to make use of the federal income tax incentives for energy efficient products and technologies passed by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.