25 Tips to Save on Home Energy Costs
- Lower water heater temperature setting – Lowering the temperature a few degrees saves on energy costs and reduces the chance for scalding, and is especially important if small children live in the home.
- Install an insulating blanket on the water heater – Most water heaters will benefit from adding an insulating blanket (available at home centers), but always check your manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Wash hands with cold water – Most people turn on the hot side of the faucet when washing hands although the hot water rarely makes it to the faucet before the washing is completed. Drawing the water out of the water heater causes it to work harder and raises energy costs.
- Take showers instead of baths – Showering generally uses less water than filling a bath tub, saving both water and energy.
- Insulate hot water pipes – Home centers offer foam pipe insulation in several sizes, and installing it on hot water lines will save water, energy and will reduce the time necessary for hot water to reach fixtures.
- Go tankless – While the cost of adding a tankless water heater is more than that of conventional heaters, the savings can be significant; and in some areas rebates are available dramatically lowering the costs.
- Take cooler showers – Since most find getting into a cool shower uncomfortable, start with your normal temperature setting and gradually lower the water temperature several times during the shower. Your body will adjust and you won’t get the cold blast when getting out of the shower.
- Adjust the thermostat – Set the thermostat at 78° in summer and 65° in winter, and compensate for the temperature with clothing—lighter in summer and heavier in winter.
- Allow outside air to cool your home – If the outside temperature falls below the temperature inside, open several windows to allow the outside air to cool the home.
- Change furnace filters regularly – Inexpensive filter should be changed monthly; follow manufacturer’s directions for high efficiency filters.
- Use fans to minimize AC use – Using ceiling or small portable fans circulates the air and makes you feel cooler.
- Keep outside AC compressor clean and free of debris – Don’t allow leaves, grass or shrubs to impede the flow of air through the AC coils. An annual cleaning is recommended for most units.
- Maintain adequate attic ventilation – Many attics lack sufficient ventilation, and lowering the attic temperature can dramatically reduce the need for air conditioning. Check with a contractor to see the best type ventilation for your attic and area.
- Install additional attic insulation – Attic insulation, either blankets or blown, can be easily installed by most homeowners. And many home centers will supply the blowing equipment for free with the purchase of attic insulation.
- Install a whole-house fan – Whole house fans serve a dual purpose by rapidly circulating outside air through the home and exhausting it through the attic, lowering the temperature in both areas.
- Replace older windows or add storm windows – Older windows are often inefficient and poorly fit. Changing them to newer low-E, double or triple pane glass can significantly reduce energy costs while making the home more comfortable.
- Install heavy draperies or blinds on windows – Window coverings can reduce air infiltration, and can be opened to allow the warmth of sunlight in winter or closed to block it in summer.
- Caulk around windows and doors – Proper caulking can reduce air infiltration and also keep out moisture or insects.
- Buy Energy Star® appliances – Appliances carrying the Energy Star® label operate more efficiently and will lower energy costs.
- Get rid of “extra” refrigerators – Many consumers, after purchasing a new refrigerator, place the old one in the garage or basement for extra storage. Other than those with large families or who purchase in bulk, most could do away with the old, energy-wasting refrigerator.
- Use the refrigerator to thaw frozen foods – The frozen food will help cool the refrigerator and, according to experts, is less likely to become contaminated with bacteria.
- Wash clothes in cold water – Most items do not need hot water for proper cleaning, and you will significantly reduce energy costs.
- Keep refrigerator coils cleaned – Regularly vacuuming the front grill and rear of refrigerators helps them to operate more efficiently.
- Change light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs – Newer CFLs are much better than those of just a couple of years ago, and LEDs are becoming more readily available and less expensive. Either will significantly reduce energy usage.
- Turn down the heat when cooking – Once something comes to a boil, the temperature of the heating element can be lowered while still maintaining cooking temperature.