Conserving Energy Saves You Money
Did you know that 50 percent of your energy consumption goes to heat or cool your home? Another 25 percent is used to heat water for laundry, dish-washing and bathing. Using energy wisely can save you money. Here are tips for conserving energy at your home.

Conduct an energy “audit” of your house:

  • Check insulation levels in your exterior walls, attic and crawl spaces. If you have less than R-30 (the recommended amount for our region), you need more insulation.
  • Check for holes and cracks around doors and windows that leak air into or out of your home.
  • Keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use.
  • Make sure your appliances and heating/cooling systems are properly maintained.

Develop a conservation plan:

Use these questions to help set priorities and decide what projects to tackle first.

  • How much do you spend on energy? How long will it take for an investment in energy efficiency to pay for itself in energy savings?
  • Can you do the job yourself or will you have to hire a contractor?
  • What is your budget? How much do you have to spend on maintenance and repairs?

Weatherize Your Home

Small air leaks around your house can have a huge negative effect on your energy bill.

  • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, air ducts or electrical wiring penetrate exterior walls.
  • Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
  • Install storm windows over single-pane windows or replace windows with double pane windows. A less costly and temporary solution is to tightly seal heavy-duty, clear plastic sheeting around inside window frames.

Heating Tips

  • Set your thermostat as low in winter and as high in summer as is comfortable. Wearing warm clothing in winter and cool clothing in summer to avoid changing the thermostat setting.
  • Up to 45 percent of your home’s energy is lost through the attic. Check your attic insulation to see if it meets the recommended value for our area (R-30) and add insulation as required.
  • Have your furnace or heat pump serviced regularly.
  • Check your furnace filters on a monthly basis to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced.
  • Make sure furniture, carpeting or drapes aren’t blocking heating vents.
  • Use kitchen and bath ventilation fans wisely. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a house full of warm air.  Turn fans off as soon as they’ve done their job.
  • Keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter your home. Close them at night to retain heat.
  • Check heating ducts for leaks.
  • Set your thermostat 10 or 15 degrees lower at bedtime or when you leave home for the day. You can save as much as 10 percent on your heating/cooling bills.

Water Heaters

  • Repair leaky faucets to avoid wasting gallons of expensive “heated” water.
  • Insulate your electric water heater and pipes but be careful not to cover the thermostat. For gas water heaters, be sure to not cover the water heater’s top, bottom, thermostat or burner compartment.
  • Take more showers than baths. Baths use 10 to 25 more gallons of hot water than showers.

Laundry

  • About 80 percent of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heat the water. Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.
  • Wash and dry full loads. When washing a smaller load, use the appropriate water level setting.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter weight clothes.
  • Don’t over-dry clothes.
  • Clean the lint filter in your dryer after each load to improve air circulation.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow clothes to finish drying with the residual heat from the dryer.
  • Periodically, check the dryer vent to make sure it isn’t blocked. This saves energy and might prevent a fire.

For more tips on how to conserve energy in your home click here!