Energy Saving Tips for Every Season
Stay cool or warm, depending on the season.
- Raise your thermostat to 78º. If you will be away from home for more than eight hours, raise the thermostat setting a bit more and you can save for each degree of setback, reducing the amount of energy used to cool your home while you're away. Learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
- Keep shades closed when the air conditioner is on. Sunny windows add heat to your home and can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.
- Check and clean filters. Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.
- Clear attic vents. If the home has an attic fan, make sure it is functioning properly.
- Install ceiling fans and make sure they are blowing down. Don't underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing downward (in a counter-clockwise direction) to send air past your body.
- Wash dishes and clothes in the early morning or late evening. By doing these chores during cooler times of the day, you will reduce the heat and humidity in the home. These appliances also produce additional heat, causing your air conditioner to work harder.
- Unplug equipment not in use. Electric chargers, televisions and audio/video equipment use electricity and produce heat even when they are not in use. Unplug any appliance when it's not in use.
- Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees. Learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
- Seal air leaks. Seal all holes from pipes and wires that enter/exit the living space, including entrances, pull-downs and attic stair openings, light fixtures, pipes and wires.
- Seal duct work. Make sure that all duct work is sealed at joints and intersections with duct sealer or silicone caulk. Otherwise, supply duct work can leak heated air into the attic or crawl space, and outside air can be drawn into the return duct work, increasing costs and reducing comfort dramatically. Ducts can be sealed using foil-backed tape or silicon caulking.
- Lower water heater to 120-125 degrees. Many water heaters are automatically set at 140 degrees. Lowering the temperature on your water heater to between 120 and 125 degrees will reduce the amount of fuel needed to heat the water.
- Change furnace filters every month. This is the number one reason for furnace breakdowns. Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Have a professional check and clean furnaces once a year.
- Weatherstrip doors, windows and attic entryways. Inspect windows and doors for air leaks. If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then the door or window needs sealing. Air leaks can be sealed with caulking or weather-stripping. Insulate attic entryways.
- Insulate water pipes. Insulate the first 3- to 6-feet of cold and hot water pipes near the water heater. Insulating hot water pipes located in a crawlspace or attic is not necessary.
- Add an insulation blanket to the water heater. Wrapping the water heater with an insulation blanket can save heating money by slowing the drop in temperature from the hot water tank as it sits unused. Inexpensive insulation kits are available at most home improvement stores.
- Add insulation to the attic. When adding insulation, start at the top and work down only after eliminating air infiltration.
- Decorating your house for the holidays? Use light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights to cut down on the cost of energy usage. LED lights not only save energy but also last longer, and are more durable than other types of bulbs. View our holiday lighting calculator to see how much energy you’re using for your holiday lighting.