Whether you own a home or rent, you can reduce your energy use by following these tips.
Spring is time for maintenance and cleaning. Prepping your cooling system now helps your home be more efficient come summertime.
- Seal around window air conditioning units to prevent cool air from escaping.
- Hose off the outdoor central air condensing unit to remove dirt and leaves. Choose a qualified contractor to service your central air every two years.
- Check your furnace filter every month and replace or clean it when dirty.
- Vacuum dust and dirt from the coils and fan of your dehumidifier.
Central and room air conditioning can be your biggest electricity users in the summer.
- Set your thermostat at 78°F or higher, if health permits.
- Turn off or set your air conditioner to 85°F when no one is home.
- Use a programmable or smart thermostat for central air and save 20 to 60 cents per hour.
Other ways to save energy in your home during summer include:
- Using shades and drapes to block the direct sun during the day.
- Cooking outside or with a microwave oven instead of a stove.
- Using a whole house fan, room fans or ceiling fans instead of air conditioning.
- Replacing your most frequently used incandescent light bulbs and fixtures with ENERGY STAR®-certified bulbs to save two-thirds of your lighting costs.
- If you have a second refrigerator, unplug it if it’s not needed.
- Turning off appliances, including computers and televisions, when not in use.
- Using exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture from showering and cooking.
- Reducing humidity by using an ENERGY STAR®-rated dehumidifier.
You can save energy outside of your home, too! Consider:
- Replacing your gas-powered lawn mower with a nonpolluting manual or electric mower.
- Putting up a clothesline for drying laundry outside to avoid heating the house with your clothes dryer.
- Plant a deciduous shade tree to the south or west of your home to keep it cooler.
- Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they drain away from your house. This reduces moisture around your home’s foundation.
The furnace or boiler is the largest energy user in most homes.
- If health permits, keep the thermostat at 68°F or below.
- Lower the thermostat at night and when you're away from home (but don’t go below 55°F).
- Check the furnace filter once a month during the heating season. Replace or clean it when dirty.
- Have a professional tune-up of your heating system every other year.
- Replace a lower efficiency furnace with one of at least 90% efficiency.
You can save energy in other areas of your home in the winter months:
- If you have a fireplace, close the damper after the fire is out to stop drafts.
- Let the sun in during the day to help reduce heating costs.
- Close drapes and shades at night to keep warm air in and improve your home’s comfort.