Energy Saving Tips
Is Your House Energy Efficient?
Here are a few ways to reduce energy and save money during the cooling season.
Tips to Save Energy & Money
- Lighting is one the easiest steps you can take to start saving energy. Replacing at least your 5 most frequently used light fixtures with ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs can save more than $65 per year. They last up to 10 times longer, use less energy and you'll see the savings right away.
- Before winter starts, remember to replace your screens with storm windows. Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors that leak air. If replacing windows with ENERGY STAR qualified models, save $20-$95 per year.
- Install a low-flow shower head. Even a 10 minute shower beats taking a full bath. This can save over $140 a year!
- While we're on the subject, fix those water leaks. Leaks inside the toilet can waste over 200 gallons of water a day (Check for a toilet leak by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tank. Coloring will appear in the toilet if it's leaking).
- Install a programmable thermostat to control air conditioning usage or heating hours. This is a great way to control temperatures when you're not home or asleep.
- At least 15% of your electricity use is due to home electronics. Choose ENERGY STAR electronics that save energy when off, while still maintaining features like clock displays, channel settings and remote control functions.
- Turn off the lights! Turning off one 60-watt incandescent light bulb, that would burn 8 hours a day can save you $15 per year per bulb!
- If your current fridge was made before 1993, it uses twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR qualified model. Are you using an old fridge in your basement or garage?
Change Your Air Conditioner & Furnace Filters
Dirty filters make your AC system work much harder to provide the cooling for your home! Changing your filter every 1-2 months could improve your systems efficiency up to 10%.
Have Your Air Conditioner Serviced
The proper refrigerant level and a clean condenser coil will help keep your AC system running efficiently. Also, to keep grass and other debris from getting sucked into your condenser coil, shut down your AC system while mowing your lawn.
Seal & Insulate
Doorways, windows and utility service penetrations all are common areas of air infiltration. Make sure these areas are all sealed from the elements. Insulate, Installing additional insulation to your attic almost always provides the best "Bang for Your Buck" recommended level for our climate zone is R49.
Use a Fan
The air circulated from a ceiling or portable fan typically makes you feel just as comfortable at a temperature 6° warmer, and raising your thermostat 6° can save 10% on your cooling bill.
Solar Gain! Your Loss!
Close your blinds and curtains, especially those on the sides of your house facing the sun, this will reduce solar heat gain. Consider installing insulated blinds which will help lower temperatures even more.
Have a Barbecue
As a heat source cooking can add more than 9,000 BTU's per burner into your home. Grilling outdoors is a great way to prepare and enjoy a meal while reducing the energy required to cool your home.
Walk Away From the Thermostat
Your house won't cool down any faster if you lower the thermostat setting. When your air conditioner is on, it cools at the same rate regardless of the temperature setting.
Where Your Money Goes
Powering electronic devices can cost you almost as much as powering your kitchen appliances. Half of U.S. homes have 3 or more TVs, 39% have multiple computers, and 44% have 4 or more rechargeable devices. Then there are roughly 160 million set-top boxes, each consuming substantial power, more than a refrigerator in some cases when used with a high-definition digital video recorder. Electronics and appliances account for 30 cents of every dollar you spend on electricity. Appliances have become more efficient, but increased use of electronics has offset those gains, according the Energy Information Administration.
Install an Energy Saving Smart Surge Protector
Some electronics use energy even when they're off. Energy efficient smart surge protectors feature 8 total outlets and 4 energy saving outlets that work in sync to efficiently power your electrical devices. This "Smart Strip" automatically switches devices on and off and uses less than one watt of power when fully energized! Pick one up at the CBPU for $20 while supplies last.
Attic Insulation - The Most Bang for Your Buck
When it comes to energy efficiency improvements, the best thing you can do to save money is to add insulation to the attic. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 45% of a home's energy loss is through the attic. Installing additional insulation can have a huge impact on the energy efficiency and comfort of your home. Installing attic insulation can be a do-it-yourself project. Loose-fill insulation, (whether it's blown-in fiberglass or cellulose) in the correct thickness (R49) will do a good job. Be prepared - the job can be dusty and you will need two people to perform it. If it's not something within the realm of your capabilities, have an insulation contractor come out and do this. On the average house, if you do it yourself, you'll spend $500 to $700 on the insulation, and if you hired a professional you'd pay $1,500 to $2,000. The savings can be significant if you're able to do the project on your own.