Find Savings in Every Nook and Cranny of Your House
They might be general in nature, but these everyday tips can provide some of the biggest savings. And better yet – most of them are relatively simply to accomplish.
Not only they the eye to your soul, they’re the gateway to savings.
- Since direct sunlight can raise the temperature of a room by 10 to 20 degrees, plant shade trees, install canopies or awnings outdoors, and use insulated drapes indoors.
- In summer, close blinds and curtains during the day to keep your room cooler so your A/C will work less.
- In winter, keep blinds open during the day to help heat the room, and close them at night to help retain the heat.
- Curtains or drapes block the heat and sun more effectively than blinds.
- Leaky windows can account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill.
- To test for leaks, shine a flashlight at night over all potential gaps in doors and windows while a helper observes the house from outside. Large cracks will show up as rays of light.
- Shut your doors and windows on a piece of paper placed on the window track or doorjamb. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you’re losing heated and cooled air, which means you’re losing energy.
- Caulk and weather-strip your windows to stop air leaks.
- Properly installed storm windows can reduce cooling or heating loss.
And did you know there are tax incentives for energy-efficient windows?
It’s amazing how much energy is wasted due to leaky doors. An exterior door with a one-eighth inch gap around it is equivalent to having a 6-inch hole in an exterior wall!
- Use a flashlight or piece of paper to check for gaps on all the exterior doors in your house. If you can see light through the door or feel a draft, you’re probably wasting valuable energy.
- Check for old or missing weather-stripping on the sides and top of the door, as well as a door sweep at the bottom of the door.
- Older doors, especially wooden doors or doors with glass panels, are often big energy wasters.
- Consider replacing your older doors with newer, energy-efficient doors that are ENERGY STAR® qualified.
Replacing or modifying your roof is a major project. But every roof needs repair or maintenance eventually, and you definitely want to think about energy-efficient roof products if you’re building or remodeling.
- The latest trend is reflective roof products, which can make quite a dent in your electric bill.
- ENERGY STAR qualified roof products reflect more of the sun’s rays. This can lower your roof’s surface temperature by up to 100° F, decreasing the amount of heat transferred into your home.
- ENERGY STAR qualified roof products can help reduce the amount of air conditioning needed, lowering peak cooling demand by 10-15%.
Air goes in and out of your home through every hole and crack around doors and windows. Reducing air leaks in your home can lower your electric bill.
- Caulk and seal any air leaks around exterior openings, over cabinets, and where plumbing, ductwork, or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, and ceilings.
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
- Look for dirty spots on your insulation, which often indicate holes where air leaks in and out of your house. Seal them by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic.
- Never cover openings associated with lighting, such as recessed lighting.
- Install storm windows over single-pane windows or replace with double-pane windows.
Ceiling fans make you feel cooler by moving the air around you and carrying the heat away from your body. They don’t actually cool the air, but a ceiling fan can make the room feel around 10° F cooler. That means you can set the thermostat at a higher temperature and still feel comfortable.
- Ceiling fans use much less energy than your air conditioner. Depending on brand, model, speed, and size, a ceiling fan typically uses around 95 watts or less, while your central A/C system can use thousands of watts.
- If you can’t install a ceiling fan in a room for some reason, a floor fan can be helpful and only uses around 100 watts on high speed.
- You can save even more money by turning off the ceiling fan when you leave the room.
- Set your fans to turn counter-clockwise during the summer and clockwise during the winter. Most fans have an up/down or left/right switch between the blades and the light fixture.
- In the wintertime, heat tends to rise and form pockets of warm air near the ceiling.
Locate energy savings your home and electricity bill need – where you least expect them.