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A typical family in the U.S. spends more than $1,600.00 each year on home utility bills. Heating and cooling is the largest
expense for most homes, accounting for an average of 56% of the energy use. Plus, the electricity generated by fossil fuels
for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average cars.
By making energy efficient improvements you can not only make your home much more comfortable, but can you can
succeed in yielding long-term financial rewards. Over time your reduced utility bills will more than make up for the price you
paid for energy efficient appliances and upgrades; in addition, your home could bring in a much higher re-sale price.
Tips to Save Energy
• Keep your thermostat set comfortably low in the winter and comfortably high in the summer.
• Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
• Instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle, open the door and air dry the dishes.
• Turn your computer and monitor off when not in use; or at least switch it to sleep mode and turn off the monitor.
• Plug home electronic, such as TVs and DVD players into power strips and then turn the power strips off when you are
not using the equipment. (In the average home 25% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the
products are turned off).
• Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120º F.
• Take short showers instead of baths.
• Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
• Wash dishes in a dishwasher as apposed to hand washing them to save water and energy.
• Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gasoline.
• Look for the ENERGY STAR label on home appliances and products.
• Conduct a self-evaluation for sources of air leaks and seal them with caulking, weather stripping, or expanding foam.
Common areas for air leaks include old windows and doors, attics, recessed lighting, gaps around plumbing and electrical
penetrations, appliance vents, and fireplaces. Keep in mind that insulation and sealing air leaks will help your energy
performance in the summer time by keeping the cool air inside.
• Upgrade insulation in attics, crawlspaces, basements and walls.
• During cold months, keep window coverings open when the sun is out to help heat your home. At night and on stormy
days, close window coverings to keep heat in and cold out. During warm months keep window coverings closed during the
day to prevent solar gain.
• Use a programmable thermostat, and set it back when you are sleeping or not at home. It is possible to save up to 20%
on winter heating costs.
• Clean or replace filers on furnaces once a month, or as needed, and make sure your furnace or heat pump receives
professional maintenance each year. Look for the ENERGY STAR label when replacing your system.
• When replacing windows, make sure the window has a low-e coating. Installation is just as important as the actual
window so look for a reputable, qualified installer. Ask for references and choose a company that can stand behind their
• Remember, the lower the U-value, the better the insulation.
• ENERGY STAR windows can reduce your heating bills by 30% to 40% compared to uncoated, single pane windows,
according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative.
• Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation (and prevent over heating that can start fires)
• Consider buying a laptop for you next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.
• Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it. Not only will this save energy, it will save wear
and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
• Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter weight clothes.
• Use rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and PDAs, They’re more cost efficient than throwaway
• Place heat resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and radiators.
• Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture,
carpeting, or drapes.
• Use fans during the summer to create a wind chill effect that will make your home more comfortable. If you use air
conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4º with no reduction in comfort.
• Insulate your hot water heater, hot water pipes, and heating ducts to prevent heat loss.
• Close fireplace dampers when not in use. A chimney is designed for smoke to escape, so until you close it warm air
• Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short-period of time.
• If heating a swimming pool, consider a swimming pool cover. Evaporation is by far the largest source of energy loss in
• Plant trees to shade air conditioning units but not to block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as
10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
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