The listed items below provide you with a detailed game plan on improving energy efficiency in your home. We have broken down the tips and fixes into four time-periods: Today, This Week and This Month and This Year.
The goal of this exercise is simple — to reduce your impact. It’s time for you to make good choices for both the environment and your bank account. Start saving energy today!
- Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only will you save energy, you will also avoid that totally scalding water when turning on the shower.
- Where possible, begin using the energy-saving options on dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and refrigerators.
- Speaking of major appliances, now is the time to check the age and condition of each one in your home. If you have older models, consider replacing them with more energy-efficient models (especially your refrigerator).
- Do some needed maintenance. Either clean or replace your air conditioner, furnace and heat-pump filters.
- If you have incandescent lights, now is a perfect opportunity to replace them with LEDs or compact fluorescents. In fact, these energy-improved lights can save 75% of the total electricity used by incandescent lights. The bulbs you want to target are those 60-100W bulbs that get used several hours a day.
- Head to your local hardware store and buy the following as needed: low-flow showerheads, compact fluorescents (CFLs) or LEDs and faucet aerators.
- Check to see if your water heater has fiberglass insulation instead of foam. If so, also use that trip to the hardware store to purchase a water heater blanket.
- If you have leaky windows, rope caulk them.
- Analyze your cooling and heating systems to determine if they need to be replaced or retrofitted. The goal is to continue to provide the same comfort while lower the overall energy footprint.
- Consider purchasing a power use monitor. This device will assist you in learning how you use energy on a daily basis while also identifying opportunities on where you can save money.
- Start looking at both your fuel and electric bills. Determine which bill is generally higher to start making conservation plans.
- Grab your flashlight and crawl into your attic to check and inspect the insulation.
- Hot water pipes and ducts should be insulated wherever they reside in unheated areas.
- Ever feel a draft on windy or chilly days? Make a plan to start sealing up air leaks all over your home. First, target the leaks that “whistle” on windy days. Then target the air leaks that produce a draft. The primary culprits are windows and doors but other places to check include recessed lights that hang from insulated ceilings, cut-through areas on walls where pipes are attached, unfinished/incomplete areas behind closets and cupboards and gaps/holes around chimneys.
- Never forget to adjust your thermostat at night or when you leave your home, especially during the summer and winter. If possible and affordable, consider purchasing a programmable thermostat.
- Make arrangements for a professional to come to your home and perform an energy assessment. Contact your utility company for more information.
- Get your walls and attic insulated if necessary. For walls, contact an insulation contractor to come to your home and blow cellulose into your walls.
- Replace those inefficient energy appliances. Even if your appliance will most likely last for years to come, it would still be a good investment to replace it with a more modern, energy-efficient model.
- Replace or upgrade your leaky windows newer, energy efficient models. You may also want to consider storm windows and weather-stripping for even higher levels of energy efficiency.
- If possible, start planting shrubs and shade trees around your house, especially on the west side. Doing so could lower your overall air conditioning costs.