Each year a typical family in the United States spends about $2,000 on utility bills with air conditiong and heating being the largest factor. It consumes 57% of the energy used in your home, which is the more carbon dioxide than two vehicles!
You can make your home comfortable while improving your utility bills, which can help you financially in the long run. Not only can you increase the value of your home, but the expense you incur in maintenance or upgrading your homes exterior will save you overall.
• Do not set your thermostat to the extreme. Do not crank the heat to the highest or the A/C to the coolest. Keep it comfortable, but reasonable.
• When you are not using your computer, turn the monitor off. Change the sleep mode to kick on when it is not in use for a time.
• Use light bulbs that are compact fluorescent.
• Let the dishes dry themselves, rather than the dishwasher. Let them air dry instead of using the heat from the dishwasher.
• Use power strips to plug in your electronics. When they are not in use, (things like TV’s, DVD players, etc.) turn off the power strip. Did you know that 25% of a homes electricity is used while things are turned off?!
• Turn the thermostat on your water heater to120º F.
• Wait until you have a full load of laundry or dishes before running the machine. It saves power an water.
• Instead of taking a bath, take a short shower.
• Washing dishes by hand uses more water and energy. Save energy and water by using your dishwasher.
• Don’t drive when you are in an aggressive mood. Leave for your destination early. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas.
• Make sure that your appliances and products are labeled with the ENERGY STAR label.
• Check for air leaks and seal them. You can use caulking, expanding foam or weather stripping to seal any leaks you may have. You should check attics, windows, doors, gaps around electrical places, plumbing, fireplace, vents and recessed lighting. In the summer, help keep the cold air in or in the winter, keep it out.
• Check the insulation in your crawlspaces, walls, basements and attics. It may need an upgrade.
• Keep your window curtains open when the sun is out to help heat your home during the cold months. It also helps keep the warm or cool air in your home.
• Use a thermostat that you can program for when you are asleep or not at home. This can save you more than 20% on heating costs.
• Clean or replace filers on furnaces once a month. It is also recommended to have it checked and maintained each year.
• Make sure the windows have a low-e coating and make sure that they are installed properly.
• For insulation, the lower the U-value, the better it is.
• Reduce your heating bills by 25%-45% by installing ENERGY STAR windows, compared to uncoated, single pane windows, according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative.
• Clean your dryers lint filter after each load to improve air circulation. This also prevents over heating and decreases the risk of starting fires.
• Desktop computers use much more energy than a laptop. Consider upgrading to lower your energy cost.
• Most people don’t know when their clothes are dry. If your machine has a setting with a moisture sensor, it is a good idea to use it. It saves energy and the wear on your clothes.
• Separate your laundry. Lighter weight loads dry faster than heavier cotton loads. Less drying is needed for lighter loads and can save evergy and time.
• Rechargeable batteries for products are more efficient than throw away batteries.
• Place heat resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and radiators.
• Make sure that warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators are not blocked by furniture, drapes or carpet and keep them clean.
• Use fans during the summer. This creates a wind chill that will make your home feel cooler and more comfortable. You can raise your thermostat by 4º without having a an effect in your comfort.
• Insulate your hot water pipes, hot water heater, and heating ducts to prevent heat loss.
• Close fireplace dampers when not in use. A chimney is designed so the smoke will escape. When the dampers are open, the warm air escapes.
• Leaky faucets can waste gallons of water in a short amount of time. Repair leaky faucets promptly.
• If you like having a heated swimming pool, consider covering it. Evaporation is the largest source of energy loss.
• Plant trees to shade your air conditioning units but not to block the airflow. A unit that operates in the shade does not have to work as hard to cool and uses up to 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.