How To Be More Energy Efficient
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Have you been wondering about ways to use your energy at home more efficiently? Read this guide to learn ways to help save energy AND money!
Free ways to be more energy efficient
- Turn your water heather thermostat down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Turn all lights off when no one is in a room, or open your windows if it is sunny outside.
- In the winter, set thermostats to 68 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home, and change it to 62 degrees Fahrenheit when no one is home.
- When running the air conditioner in the summer, set thermostats to 76 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home, and change it to 82 degrees Fahrenheit when no one is home. By lowering the thermostats when no one is home, you can save between 5% – 15% more money than if you are not doing this.
- Use energy-saving settings on washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
- Clean your refrigerator condenser coils once a year.
- Air-dry clothes outdoors over throwing them in the dryer.
- Close heating vents in unused rooms.
- Repair leaky faucets and toilets (leaks waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide).
Inexpensive ways to be more energy efficient
- Install a water-saving showerhead or faucet heads for your sinks.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Plug air leaks in any attics or basements that small animals could crawl through, and replace broken window panes.
- Clean or change the air filter on your warm-air heating system during the winter, and clean or change the filters on the air conditioning unit during summer.
- Insulate the first six feet of hot and cold water pipes.
- Install a compact, fluorescent lightbulb in the light fixtures that are used the most.
More expensive Ways to be more energy efficient (these will have an impact on IAQ)
- Get a comprehensive energy audit, including a blower door test to identify sources of air infiltration.
- Caulk and weatherize all leaks that are identified by the blower door test. Start with the attic or basement first, then weatherize windows and doors.
- Seal and insulate warm-air heating or cooling ducts.
- Have your heating and cooling systems tuned up at least every two years.
- Have insulating shades for windows.
Ways to be more energy efficient that will take 3-15 years to pay for themselves (MECHANICAL VENTILATION should be present at this level of activity)
- Foundation: insulate the inside rim joist, and down the foundation wall to below the frost line to R-10. Caulk the rim joist and sill areas first.
- Basement: insulate the ceiling above crawl spaces or unheated basements to R-19 in cold climates. If your basement is heated, insulate the inside of the basement walls to R-10. Basement or foundation insulation is usually not needed in hotter climates. Install a ground vapor retarder if none is present.
- Walls: Adding wall insulation is more difficult and expensive, but it is more cost-efficient if your house is uncomfortable and you have empty wall cavities. Installing insulation at a high density will greatly reduce air leakage.
- Replace exterior incandescent lights with compact, fluorescents, and put them on a timer or motion sensor if they are on for more than a couple hours a night.
- Convert to solar water heating, and perhaps also supplementary solar space heating.
- Upgrade your water heater, furnace, boiler, air conditioners and refrigerators to more efficient models. Newer units are far more efficient. Upgrading is often cost-effective, and definitely so if you need to replace failing units anyway. Also, if you have weatherized an insulated unit, you will be able to downsize the heating and cooling systems. If the house is tight, use only sealed combustion appliances. If the air handler will be used for ventilation, or even when the furnace runtime will be long, choose an ECM.
- Replace high-flow toilets with modern, water-efficient toilets that use 50-80% less water.
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