Saving energy doesn’t always involve making an expensive improvement to your home. Sometimes the little things you do day to day can make the biggest energy saving difference. Here are several cheap to free tips to save energy in your home, courtesy of the folks at the Department of Energy and the Alliance to Save Energy. See how many you can incorporate into your daily routine today, and count up the savings at the end of the month!
- Turn off everything not in use: lights, TVs, computers, etc. It’s free and only takes a few minutes to do.
- Check the furnace or air conditioner (AC) filter each month, and clean or replace it as needed. Dirty filters block air flow through your heating and cooling systems, increasing your energy bill and shortening the equipment’s life.
- During hot months, keep window coverings closed on the south, east, and west windows. In winter, let the sun in.
- Glass fireplace doors help stop heat from being lost up the chimney. Also, close the fireplace damper when not in use.
- Activate “sleep” features on computers and office equipment that power down when not in use for a while. Turn off equipment during longer periods of non-use to improve longevity while saving energy.
- When cooking, keep the lids on pots. Better yet, use a microwave oven instead.
- Dress appropriately for the weather, and set your thermostat to the lowest possible comfortable setting. On winter nights, put an extra blanket on the bed and turn down your thermostat more.
- About 15% of an average home energy bill goes to heating water. To save hot water, take five-minute showers instead of baths. Do only full loads when using the clothes washer or dishwasher. Use cold water for laundry and use detergents formulated for cold water. They get your clothes just as clean and can lead to a yearly savings of $63.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater. It should be set at “warm,” so that a thermometer held under running water reads no more than 120 degrees.
- Only heat or cool the rooms you need-close vents and doors of unused rooms.
- When it’s time to replace your hot water tank, buy the most efficient one possible. Consider a tankless, on-demand system (these won’t work for everyone, so talk to your installer).
- An ENERGY STAR qualified furnace, when properly sized and installed, along with sealed ducts and a programmable thermostat, can save up to 20 percent on heating bills.
- Adding area heaters to warm just the occupied rooms in your home will enable you to keep the rest of your home at cooler, more economical temperatures.
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