Daily Homeowner Tips
- Increase your air conditioner temperature by one degree. Believe it or not, it could mean significant savings over the long run.
- When it’s cool outside, open the windows and turn off the air.
- If you’re going to be away from your home for a long time, say, on vacation or a long weekend, turn the temperature up. Or better yet, turn the air conditioning unit off.
- Replace air filters every month. Clogged filters mean your A/C works harder.
- Install a programmable thermostat if you don’t have one already. Set the times and temperatures to match your schedule.
- Bigger isn’t always better. Buy the proper-sized equipment to meet your family’s needs. An oversized A/C unit will waste energy.
- Before buying an air conditioning unit or system, find out its energy-efficiency ratio (EER). Calculate the EER by dividing the unit’s cooling capacity (BTUs/hour) by its energy requirement (watts). An EER of 10 or more is very good, and 6 or 7 is fair. Remember to buy the smallest capacity unit or system that will meet your needs.
- Turn your furnace down slightly. Even one degree can make a big difference.
- Dress warmly when indoors. Lower your thermostat by two degrees. You could save as much as four percent on your heating bill.
- Turn your heat down at night and throw on an extra blanket.
- Turn off heat in unused rooms and shut the doors.
- Heading out for a while? Turn the heat down to save energy.
- Keep the heat in the house by closing the curtains. Yep, even this can make a difference.
- Throw down a rug on exposed floors. Not only will it insulate, it will cut down on noise as well.
- Install a furnace alarm. This will tell you when to change filters.
- Just changing dirty filters on your furnace could save you five percent on your heating bill.
- Keep supply and return air vents clear of objects like furniture. This allows your furnace to operate more efficiently.
- Check doors for proper insulation. Place your hand against a door from the inside. If it feels cooler than the inside walls, it might be time to install a door that’s better insulated.
- Adding a humidifier to your heating system lets you turn the thermostat down and be comfortable at lower temperatures. Aquariums and houseplants add humidity, too.
- Did you know that heat recovery ventilators improve indoor air quality by expelling stale indoor air continuously and using its heat to preheat the incoming fresh air? Installing one of these may give you the added savings you’re looking for on your next energy bill.
- Change the direction of airflow on your ceiling fan. For those cold, winter months, the blades should operate in a clockwise direction, helping to push the warm air from the ceiling down into the room. In the summer, the blades should operate in a counter clockwise direction as a way of creating a nice, gentle wind.
- Check your hot water temperature. 140° is sufficient for washing dishes and clothes.
- Insulate your water heater and its pipes. Your water will stay hotter longer. Keep the insulation 18” from the top of the water heater.
- Take showers. A bath consumes about five times the hot water. And buy a low-flow showerhead. It will pay for itself in no time.
- Avoid washing dishes in hot running water. Fill the sink halfway, and then scrub away.
- Repair dripping hot water taps immediately.
- Wash full loads. You’ll use the machine less, save time and save energy.
- Wash at a lower temperature. Use the spin cycle, and then hang dry your clothes and sheets.
- Use your dryer for consecutive loads. The built-up heat means less energy spent.
- Microwaves use substantially less energy than ovens. Use one when cooking and reheating items.
Fridge and Freezer
- Defrost your fridge regularly. When ice builds up, your freezer uses more electricity. If it frosts up again quickly, check that the door seals are strong and intact.
- Keep your fridge at least three quarters full for maximum efficiency.
- Use energy-saving lightbulbs that can last up to ten times longer than a normal bulb and use significantly less energy. A single 20- to 25-watt energy-saving bulb provides as much light as a 100-watt ordinary bulb.
- Install motion sensors on external lights.
- Use only one bulb for light fittings with more than one lightbulb or replace additional bulbs with a lower wattage version.
Insulation and Windows
- Install covers on letterboxes and/or keyholes to reduce indoor drafts.
- If your home was built after 1940, you probably have cavity walls. Have them filled with insulation, which could help you save money every year.
- With the correct insulation in your attic, you can help eliminate the risk of ice damming and dangerous icicles. And, while you’re at it, insulate your attic door or hatch at the same time.
- To find out if you have enough attic insulation, measure its thickness. If there is less than R-22 (7 inches of fiberglass or rock wool, or 6 inches of cellulose), look into adding more. And while you’re up there, consider installing some roof vents and inlets to improve ventilation.
- For an instant low-cost and temporary alternative to glazed windows, attach cling film to your window frame and set it in place with a hair dryer.
- Don’t lose heated air up your chimney! The chimney acts like an open window. If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
- Home solar panels may help reduce your energy bill. For more information, please check out the Solar Action Alliance website.