Energy Efficiency

A whole-house approach to energy conservation that makes CENTS!

One way to keep your family and your wallet comfortable this year-round is to make ENERGY-SAVINGS improvements around your house. Not only does a whole-house approach to energy conservation take your energy dollars further, it can help reduce the impact of higher gas prices on your HOUSEHOLD BUDGET.

You'll find easy, practical SOLUTIONS for conserving energy in every room of your home. Most of the tips you'll see are INEXPENSIVE steps you can take now to reduce your household energy consumption and MINIMIZE ENERGY LOSS.

1. FURNACE

  • Schedule an annual inspection of your heating system. A qualified contractor can inspect your furnace to ensure it is working properly. If repairs are needed, have a qualified contractor perform the work.
  • If your furnace is old, replacing it with a new, high efficiency furnace can save valuable energy dollars.
  • Replace air filters in your furnace every three to six months. Clogged filters make the furnace work harder, wearing it down.

2. WATER HEATER

  • Set the water heater temperature to 120° F or lower
  • Wrap the water heater tank with an insulation blanket (in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines) to keep water in the tank warm- reducing the amount of energy needed to heat up the water. Also, insulate the water pipes leading out from your water heater with inexpensive foam sleeves.
  • Periodically drain the water heater until water runs clear. This allows sediment and mineral deposits to escape and increases efficiency.
  • To conserve water, install water-flow restrictors in showerheads and faucets

3. DOORS

  • Install a storm door with weather-stripping and bottom sweep to seal the elements outside. Replace thresholds so the cold doesn't sneak under the door.
  • Cover areas around letterboxes and keyholes with flaps or brush seals to prevent heat from escaping.

4. WINDOWS

  • Make sure all storm windows are closed. It only takes one or two unprotected windows to chill a room and lose heating dollars.
  • On windows that face the sun, leave draperies open during the day. At night, close drapes to help keep heat inside. Consider installing heavy draperies on large windows.
  • Double-glazing windows can cut heat losses in half.
  • Remove window air conditioners in the winter and seal the space where it was installed.

5. THERMOSTAT

  • Lower your thermostat temperature. Every one degree results in savings of between four and five percent on your energy bill. For example, lowering from 72 degrees Fahrenheit could save you 18 percent. For an average size home, the annual savings would be approximately $131.
  • Install a setback thermostat to automatically lower the temperature settings at night or during unoccupied periods. A ten degree set back at night will save approximately five to 15 percent on annual heating cost. For an average size home, the annual savings would be approximately $72.
  • Don't put lights by your thermostat. They can cause the thermostat to have an inaccurate reading.
  • Consider a humidifier. Properly humidified air makes your home feel warmer and more comfortable, so you can keep your thermostat setting lower.

6. OUTDOORS

  • Keep your garage door closed during the winter so cold air doesn't penetrate the outer walls of your home.
  • Use low-wattage lights outside. Several low-wattage fixtures use fewer watts than one floodlight. Or, consider solar-powered lights.
  • Plant trees that shade your home to keep cooling costs down. Leafy trees shade best on the south and west sides. Deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the winter keep you cool in the summer form shade and warm the house in the winter by letting in sun. Plant evergreen trees to serve as wind breakers.

7. INSULATION

  • Ducts
    • Get your air ducts sealed by a professional HVAC contractor. According to the Department of Energy, you can lose up to 40 percent of your heated or cooled air through leaks in your ductwork.
  • Attic
    • Add insulation to your attic. Purchase insulation with a high R-value (the higher the R-value, the better it will work).
    • Install an attic fan to make sure your attic is properly ventilated. (An attic fan eliminates warm air in the summer, which can help regulate the temperature in your home.
  • Walls
    • Use caulking, sealant or weather-stripping to weatherize all seams, cracks and openings around windows, doors and baseboards, as well as the small opening around television cables, dryer vents and plumbing pipes.
  • Roof
    • Keep the insulation in your attic dry and effective by repairing leaks in your roof.

To learn more about using energy wisely and for more tips on energy savings, visit Citizens Energy Savers and ENERGY STAR.

ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.