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Energy Efficiency Tips

We all want to save energy and money. Read below for tips that will empower you to understand your energy consumption and show you how to save.

No-Cost or Low-Cost Tips

  • Lower your thermostat at night and whenever the house is unoccupied. Close off and don't heat unoccupied rooms (unless you have a heat pump). If you consistently set your thermostat back 10 degrees (F) at night, you can reduce your heating bill by 10-20 percent.
  • Lower the thermostat and dress warmer. As little as 1 to 3 degrees (F) makes a difference.
  • Lower the temperature on your electric water heater to 120 (F) degrees. Turn it off when leaving for extended periods of time.
  • Set refrigerator temperatures between 37 and 40 degrees (F). Clean the coils. Keep the refrigerator stocked; it takes more energy to cool an empty fridge.
  • Turn off and safely store extra refrigerators, especially if older than 10 years. They can use over 3 times the energy of newer models.
  • Wash full loads of dishes and air dry.
  • When washing clothes, use warm or cold water and rinse with cold. Air dry clothes.
  • Shut off lights, computers and other electronic appliances when you're not using them.
  • Use the bathroom or kitchen fans only while showering or cooking on the stove to avoid moisture problems.
  • Use a microwave or toaster oven for smaller items.
  • Install a low-flow shower head. Showers use less hot water than baths.
  • Close your fireplace damper and seal the opening shut when not in use.
  • Open south-facing window coverings (e.g. drapes, blinds, etc.) during the day. Close all window coverings at night to keep the heat in.
  • Install gaskets behind electric-outlet and switch-plate covers.

Steps that cost more but typically pay for themselves in two years or less.

  • Install an automatic thermostat that adjusts temperature according to your daily schedule.
  • Install do-it-yourself weatherstripping and caulking.
  • Use motion sensors for outdoor lighting. You'll still have security and save energy.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs in common areas (where lights are on most of the time) with compact fluorescent lamps(CFLs) or new LEC lights. They use about a quarter of the energy or less.
  • Replace the halogen torchiere floor lamp with a CFL model. They're safer, use 70 percent less electricity and produce as much, if not more, light.
  • Tune up the furnace annually.
  • Replace furnace filters. The dirtier they are the harder the furnace fan works.
  • Add water heater tank and hot water pipe insulation especially if in an unheated space. Don't cover the thermostat or, for natural gas models, the air inlets.
  • Install a sheet metal fireplace cover.

Home energy improvements that pay for themselves in approximately two to five years.

  • Increase attic insulation to R-49 (the current requirement for new homes).
  • Insulate floors over unheated spaces to R-30 for 10 Inch floor joists and R-25 for 8 inch floor joist.
  • Insulate and seal ducts, attics, crawl spaces, garages and other unheated areas.
  • Install do-it-yourself storm windows that cost less than $3/sq.ft., such as rigid acrylic glazing.
  • Perform low-cost fireplace modifications, such as flue-top damper or inexpensive glass doors.

Home improvements that may take fives years or more to pay for themselves.  This rate of return can be greatly improved when good incentives and rebates are available and utilized.

  • When you do replace a home appliance, the more energy-efficient models will be more expensive initially, but you will save money and energy for the entire life. There are two price tags: the purchase price and the operating price. An appliance that is cheaper to purchase initially will have higher operating costs, where as an Energy Star appliance will be more expensive at first, but the savings you'll accumulate from operating will be substantial. See the Energy Star® web site at EnergyStar.gov for more information on home products.
  • Energy Star® clothes washers save energy, water, and detergent.
  • Energy Star® windows save energy and increase comfort.
  • Look for and purchase Energy Star®-labeled electronic goods, and lighting bulbs and fixtures.
  • Add do-it-yourself insulated (quilted) window covers (minimum R-3 and costing less than $5/sq.ft.) or install blinds, drapes or other window coverings.
  • Wall insulation should be added when the space is made accessible during home remodeling.
  • Furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioning and water heaters all have high efficiency models available and should be considered when replacing these appliances.
  • Invest in commercially installed storm windows or insulated glass.
  • Replacing conventional oil burner (oil furnace) with more efficient flame-retention burner.
  • Install a fireplace insert and wood stove in the fireplace.
  • Install a ductless heat pump.
  • Install a heat pump water heater.
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