The heat is on this summer, but you can save money on your energy bill with these simple steps.
1. Run heat-producing appliances (e.g. dryer, dishwasher) at night or in the evening.
2. Replace all incandescent bulbs in your home with either CFL florescent (good) or LED (best) bulbs.
3. Seal the cracks. Anywhere there’s an opening to the outdoors is a possible escape route for cooled air. Check places like the attic, in between door and window sills, and small crawlspaces to ascertain any points of leakage. Caulk around interior window sills and trim.
4. Clean and seal the HVAC ducts in your attic (also found in basements and crawlspaces). These ducts reside in spaces that aren’t cooled.
5. Move heat-producing items (anything from a recently-used vacuum to a bright lamp) away from the thermostat.
6. Change the A/C filter frequently. Mark it on your calendar and buy several filters at a time.
7. Run the fans. Supplementing the AC with a bit of fan-blowing goes a long way in cooling down the air. Using ceiling fans and other fans is a helpful way to reduce costs and make the air feel cooler. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms. Turn off the fans when you leave the room.
8. Close the shades. It’s always tempting to let the sunshine in, but light equals heat. Keep the shades closed, especially when the windows are in direct sunlight.
9. Unplug the ghosts. DVD players and computers are notorious “ghost energy users” that use power when they aren’t turned on. Plug all of your audio, video and computer equipment into accessible power-strips and turn them off when not in use.
10. Use the moisture-sensor setting on your clothes dryer. Dry heavy items like towels and blue jeans separately. The moisture sensor helps you use less energy and it’s easier on your clothes.
Two Bigger Upgrades to Cut Energy Costs
Ready to take it bigger? The two most important upgrades for your home are replacement windows and a new air conditioning system. If your windows or HVAC are more than 12 years old, you need to replace them.
- Install energy-efficient, coated replacement windows with a low light-admittance rating (VL rating on new window stickers). ‘Low-E’-rated windows are an excellent bet.
- A new or upgraded air conditioner will help you better manage your energy usage and substantially reduce utility costs. One rated by Energy Star is almost always a surefire bet.