Use these common sense energy tips and reduce your household bills.
- Purchase an efficient heating system: If you are thinking about purchasing a new heating system, look for energy star models. These are the most energy efficient models on the market.
- Put your computer to sleep: Most computers come with the power management features turned off. Set your computer to go to sleep if you're away from your machine for 15 minutes.
- Replace Light Bulbs: Use a compact fluorescent bulb. It uses about one-fourth the energy an incandescent uses with the same light quality and lasts 10 times as long.
- Can't heat up faster: Your house won't warm up any faster if you raise the thermostat setting. When your heating system is on it runs at the same rate regardless of the temperature setting.
- Keep doors closed: Shut the door each time you open the door cold air enters the house.
- Rearrange your rooms: Sit near interior walls, exterior walls and older windows are likely to be cold and drafty. Close closets and cabinets - Closets and cabinets on outside walls can leak a great deal of cold air, so make sure the doors fit snuggly and keep them closed.
- Caulk and weather strip: One of the quickest dollar-saving tasks you can do is to caulk, seal and weather strip where drafts are detected
- Use ceiling fans: Use ceiling fans to increase air movement and comfort levels and save money. By changing the direction of your ceiling fan to counter-clockwise in the winter, the fan will push rising warm air back into the living space.
- Take advantage of the sun: Open shades on the southern and eastern windows during the day. Close these shades when the sun goes down.
- High efficiency windows: If you are planning to replace your windows, choosing Energy Star windows can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15 percent.
- Don't let heat go up the chimney: Keep it shut. Traditional fireplaces are an energy loser - it's best not to use them because they pull heated air out of the house and up the chimney. When not in use, make absolutely sure the damper is closed.
- Turn off the pilot light: If your heating system has a pilot light, turn it off during the summer. A pilot light typically costs $3-$5 per month to keep lit so why not turn it off when you aren't using it. Gas ranges with electronic ignition systems will use 40 percent less energy than a standing pilot system.
- Tune up your heating system: Have your heating system tuned and inspected by a service professional. Losses from a poorly maintained system accumulate sometimes at a rate of 1-2% each year.
- Insulate properly: Make sure that your wall and attic are properly insulated. Adding fiberglass insulation in your attic is one of the most cost effective savings measures and one that you can do yourself.
- Seal Leaks: Leaks develop in all air ducts over time. Sealing these leaks in ducts can reduce heating costs by up to 20%. Keep filters clean, they can block heat flows.
- Use appliances efficiently: Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and clothes washer. Use the cold water setting on your clothes washer when you can. Using cold water reduces your washer's energy use by 75 percent.
- Lower your thermostat: Most energy experts recommend setting the thermostat to 68F or less, and several degrees cooler overnight. Make sure you lower you thermostat if you are leaving the house for any length of time.
- Use a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat lets you easily lower the thermostat during periods when no one is home, as well as lower the temperature overnight without having to freeze in the morning while waiting for the heat to rise. They start at $30 and can save you $100 in heating and cooling costs every year.
- Insulate your hot water pipes: Hot water heating systems use a network of pipes to distribute heat through your house. Wrapping pipes and your hot water heater with insulation is easy to do and fairly inexpensive. Use foam or fiberglass insulation with a wall thickness of 3/4 in. for fiberglass and 1/2 in. for foam.
- Single pane windows: Not only are they inefficient, but worn and dirty windows can be unsightly as well. Replacing them with energy-efficient windows is a major investment, but in colder climates the heating savings can be considerable.
- Insulate outlets: Electric outlets let cold air into the house. Remove the outlet covers and insert special insulation underneath. Use special insulating plugs in all outlets that are not being used