ENERGY SAVING TIPS AT HOME
Energy saving tips at home
- Have an occasional family meeting to discuss ways you can save energy at home.
- Use this list as a guide to energy saving tips and assign someone to monitor energy use between meetings.
- Make a game out of saving energy by paying small rewards for coming up with new energy saving tips and ideas in the home.
- Keep track of your utility bills to see how much energy you can save at home.
- Using a fireplace sends valuable heat up the chimney. Reduce the loss by installing glass doors.
- Have the chimney cleaned and inspected regularly and burn only fully dried hardwoods to produce the most heat output.
- Provide an outside air source to fuel the fire in your fireplace to prevent sucking out conditioned room air.
- Keep your fireplace damper closed in the winter when not in use.
- In the summer, open the damper to create a natural cooling draught.
- If you don't use your fireplace, plug the chimney with fiberglass insulation and seal the doors with silicone caulk.
- Use grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
- Install a circulating fan in your fireplace to save energy in your home.
HEATING AND COOLING
- Turn off the TV, VCR, stereo or radio when not in use.
- Install a solar system in your home. They make good sense as the prices have come down.
- Turn off the dehumidifier on dry days when it's not needed.
- Turn off the humidifier on humid days when it's not needed.
- Install low-flush toilets to save water. Many communities have water conservation programs that may pay for the new toilets.
- Turn off the water when brushing teeth or shaving.
- Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket or ashtray - it wastes water every time you flush it.
- It takes a lot of energy to make new containers, paper products and packaging. Be diligent in recycling all your newspapers, cans, bottles, plastics, cardboard and other materials.
- Use recycled paper products such as paper towels, tissue and toilet paper.
- Do your consumer research on the Internet and buy as many things as you can on-line. You'll save time and the small shipping fees are much less than what you'd spend driving around in a vehicle.
- Cancel your printed newspapers and magazines and subscribe to the on-line versions. It takes a lot of energy to make the paper, print and deliver these publications to your door.
- Activate the "sleep" feature of your home office equipment (PC, fax, printer, scanner, monitor) so they automatically power down when not in use.
- Turn off your home office equipment when not in use.
- When buying a home, look at neighborhoods close to work or public transportation to reduce private vehicle use.
- 100 billion plastic bags are used in the U.S each year. This represents 14 million barrels of oil.
- It is estimated that it takes up to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. Plus many end up in the streams and oceans
- Recycling plastic bags is a joke! Just throw it away because it takes more energy and costs more to recycle it than to make a new one.
- When shopping, refuse a bag if you don't need it. Cashiers are often on autopilot, bagging even single items.
- Reuse your grocery bags or better yet, go www.reusablebags.com and buy a sturdy canvas bag for every family member. They will last for years.
- Do you really need to use individual plastic bags for produce at the grocery store?
- Here's a couple of small energy saving tips - avoid double-cupping when getting your favorite coffee drink. Also, take your coffee without a lid unless you really need one.
- Bring your own cup to your favorite coffee shop. You'll save energy, most coffee shops give a discount, plus coffee always tastes better in real cup.
- Keep a real cup and glass at the office for your coffee, tea and water.
- Household batteries contain hazardous materials and throwing them in the trash is now prohibited in California. Properly dispose of your batteries at the retail centers where you buy them.
- Better yet, purchase a good selection of high-quality rechargeable batteries and a charging unit. You'll save money in the long run and keep hazardous materials out of our environment.
INSULATION & CAULKING
- Space heating and cooling accounts for about 45 percent of your utility bill and offers the greatest opportunity to save on energy costs.
- Adjust the thermostat in small degree changes - your home won't heat or cool faster by cranking it up.
- If your home is heated electrically and you live in a moderate climate like Southern California, consider installing a heat pump to save 30 to 40 percent on your heating costs.
- Cranking up the thermostat on a heat pump system may turn on the back-up resistance heating strips - adding greatly to your electric bill.
- Installing a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature according to your schedule will pay for itself in less than a year.
- Changing the furnace filter every few months is a good energy saving tip. Plus you will have cleaner air.
- Keep furniture and drapes away from the HVAC air supply and return air ducts to increase the energy efficiency of your system.
- Be sure the air conditioner is fully charged with freon so it operates efficiently.
- When installing a new furnace, check the energy rating and choose a high-efficiency unit for maximum energy savings. It will pay for itself in about 7 years.
- When buying an air conditioner, don't over-size it. Select the proper size and choose an energy-efficient model.
- If you install your air conditioning compressor in a shady spot, it will work more efficiently.
- Allow plenty of room for air flow around the air conditioning compressor for most efficient operation.
- Bleed air from hot water radiators a couple of times each season to make them work more efficiently.
- Place heat resistant radiator reflectors between the exterior walls and the radiators.
- Major appliances add extra heat to your home and make your air conditioner work harder. Operate them in the morning or evening when it's cooler outside.
- During the winter, remove window air conditioners and seal the windows with caulk and weather stripping.
- You might also want to cover the central air conditioner in the winter with a tarp to keep it clean.
- Ceiling fans are more energy efficient at circulating the air than turning on the main furnace fan.
- Install a whole-house fan in the attic to draw hot air out of the house. Remember to cover and insulate it during the winter to prevent heat loss.
- Closing the doors and shutting the vents in the rooms you don't use is a smart energy saving idea.
- Add an extra blanket for warmth and turn down the furnace while sleeping.
- Use ventilating fans in your kitchen, bath and utility area prudently. In just one hour of use, they can pull out a houseful of warm air.
- A small UAL approved electric space heater is an efficient way to supplement room heating.
- More than half of the energy used for heating is lost through uninsulated walls, floors, ceilings and attics.
- Adding additional insulation to the ceilings, walls and floors of your home traps heat inside during the winter and keeps heat outside during the summer.
- Inspect your home's HVAC duct system to be sure they're properly connected, sealed tightly and well insulated.
- Caulking and weather stripping your doors and windows is an efficient energy saving tip.
- Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducts or electrical wires penetrate the exterior walls, floors and ceilings.
- Install the ready-made foam insulating pads inside your receptacle and switch plate covers to keep out the winter cold and summer heat.
- Seal cracks in your basement walls and floor to keep heat in and cold air out.
- Look for the Energy Star label for when buying home appliances.
- Use energy saving products such as small electric pans or toaster ovens to cook small meals instead of heating your large stove or oven.
- Save considerable energy by using your microwave oven and pressure cooker whenever possible. They cook quickly using less energy.
- Foods and vegetables will take less time to cook if they are cut into small pieces.
- Foods will cook faster and use less energy if you put lids on the pots and pans and make sure they're the right size for the burner.
- Preheat the oven only when the recipe calls for it. There's no need to preheat the broiler.
- Save energy by baking an extra dish or cooking entire meals in the oven at the same time.
- When you open the oven door to peek at food inside you lose 25-75 degrees of heat. Look through the oven window or wait until the food is almost done before opening the door.
- If you have a self-cleaning oven, clean it immediately after use. Because it's already hot, it will take less energy to get to the heat cleaning stage.
- Let hot foods cool on the counter before putting them in your refrigerator or freezer. Hot foods cause the unit to work longer and harder.
- Do you really need that extra refrigerator or freezer in the garage or basement? If not, sell it or just unplug it for big energy savings of up about $8 per month.
- If cold air is escaping around the refrigerator door seal, adjust or replace the seal. To check, close the door on a dollar bill. If it's easy to pull out, cold air is escaping.
- Remove old items from the refrigerator regularly, so you don't waste electricity keeping them cold all the time.
- Set the temperature in your refrigerator between 35 and 38 degrees F.
- Keep the temperature on the freezer between 0 and 5 degrees F.
- Turn off the "heat dry" feature of your dishwasher. Then, when the load is finished open the door and let the dishes air-dry on their own.
- Run the dishwasher only with a full load.
- A dishwasher will operate more efficiently if you unclog the drain of food particles and clean it weekly.
- Using the garbage disposal less and the garbage can more is a good energy saving tip for the home.
- Over drying wears out your clothes and wastes energy. Stop your dryer when the laundry is dry by setting the timer or using the auto dry cycle.
- Buy an dryer with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off when the clothes are dry.
- Empty your clothes dryer lint screen between every load to improve energy efficiency.
- Wash your clothes in cold or warm water and rinse them in cold water. Use a cold water detergent.
- Use non-toxic environmentally friendly detergents and cleaning products.
- Set the water level on your washer to match the size of the load to save energy and water.
- One way to save energy is to wash and dry clothes only when you have a full load.
- Fill your clothes dryer, but don't overload it. Your clothes will dry faster when they have room to tumble.
- Dry clothes in consecutive loads to take advantage of the warm dryer.
- Gas clothes dryers usually cost about one-third as much to operate as electric dryers.
- Run your major appliances such as washer, dryer, dishwasher and pool/spa motors during non-peak electrical hours, generally after 8 p.m.
- Lighting accounts for about 15 percent of a typical residential utility bill. So, turn off the lights when not in use.
- Electric lighting also adds extra heat to a space that must be cooled by air conditioning in the summer.
- Recessed can lights typically use 75- or 100-watt incandescent floodlight bulbs. Replace them with 10-watt LED bulbs to enjoy an 80 percent energy savings - and improve the quality of the light.
- To improve energy efficiency even more, replace the incandescent light bulbs in your other fixtures and table lamps with energy-saving LED bulbs.
- Under-the-counter fluorescent lights in the kitchen give great energy savings. Most of the time, you can get by using them alone.
- New LED under-the-counter fixtures give great light and a big savings.
- Install dimmer switches to save energy and extend the life of light bulbs
- Removing one light bulb from your garage door opener is a creative energy saving tip.
- For more energy efficiency, remove both light bulbs from your garage door opener and replace the garage wall light switch with a motion sensor control. The light will come on when someone enters the garage and go off more quickly, automatically.
- Install low-voltage lighting for outside illumination.
- For outdoor security lights, install lights with motion detectors so they only come on when needed.
- Water heating accounts for as much as 20 percent of your utility bill. Insulate the hot water tank to reduce heat loss and save energy.
- Install the pre-formed foam pipe insulation on your hot water pipes.
- Set your water heater to the "vacation" mode when you're away from home for more than two days.
- Gradually turn down the temperature on the hot water heater until you just barely run out of hot water. Then, turn it back up just a notch for comfort.
- More than 1.5 million homes and businesses in the United States have invested in solar water heating systems. Most consider the systems to be a great energy saving idea and a good investment.
- Fix leaky faucets. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons a month - that's more than one person uses in two weeks.
- Take a shower instead of a bath and you'll use less hot water.
- Take shorter showers. For those who just have to take a long shower to get going in the morning, install a low-flow shower head to save valuable hot water.
- If you live in a cold climate, install a second water holding tank for water to reach room temperature before entering the hot water heater.
- An old hot water heater builds up deposits inside and becomes less efficient. Install a new energy efficient, well-insulated hot water heater.
- An effective energy saving tip is to compare the Energy Guide labels before buying a new hot water heater.
- Don't replace the hot water heater with a bigger one than you really need. Select the proper size to save energy.
- When your old hot water heater breaks, replace it with a tankless model or one of the new high-tech multi-mode units.
- One of the little-known ways to save energy is to drain a quart of water from your hot water tank every few months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers it's efficiency.
- 10 to 25 percent of your central heat is lost through the windows.
- Replace single-pane windows with double-pane windows with low-emissivity (low-e) glass and vinyl frames to reduce heat transfer and filter out ultraviolet light.
- In colder climates, select windows that are gas filled and have low-emissivity (low-e) coatings on the glass to reduce heat loss.
- In warmer climates, select windows with spectrally selective coatings to reduce heat gain and save energy.
- Installing storm windows can reduce heat loss through windows by 25 to 50 percent.
- Reflective window film can help reduce heat gain during the summer and it will protect your furniture and carpet.
- Passive solar design can be very effective for reducing heating and cooling costs.
- When buying a home, select one with the main living area facing south to make the most of passive solar heating in the winter.
- When designing a new home or remodeling an existing one, place large insulated windows on the south walls with a heat-absorbing slab, to keep your home warm in the winter.
- Keep plants and trees trimmed away from south-facing windows to get the maximum solar heating effect in the winter.
- Design protective overhangs on the west walls to reduce cooling costs in the summer.
- During daylight hours in the winter, open all the drapes and blinds on south-facing windows to gain maximum heat through the windows.
- Close all the window blinds and drapes at night to reduce heat loss through the windows.
- During the hot part of the day in the summer, close the drapes and blinds on the windows where the sun "beats in" to minimize the heat gain.