Here are some Low Cost/No Cost steps that you should be taking to insure that your home's major energy using systems are working at their best efficiencies:
- HVAC Filters - Your furnace and air conditioning filters should be checked monthly and dirty filters cleaned or replaced.
- AC Compressor Tips - The outdoor portion of your air conditioner should be kept clear of debris which can reduce the flow of air around the unit and should be shaded from direct sun, and the inside and/or outside coils cleaned annually.
- Raise Summer Thermostat Setting - If you raised your indoor temperature by 2-3 degrees during the summer, you could save 10-15% on your annual cooling bill. Limit the minimum thermostat control setting for your cooling system to 78 degrees F.
- Lower Winter Thermostat Setting - If you lowered your indoor temperature by 2-3 degrees during the winter, you could save 10% on your annual heating bill. Limit the maximum thermostat control setting for your heating system to 68 degrees F.
- Thermostat Settings - Unknown? - Not sure what temperatures are being maintained in your home? For every one-degree increase or decrease in your temperature, you could save 4-7% of your heating and cooling bill.
- Nighttime Temperature Setback - Manually lower the thermostat control setting for your heating system to a maximum of 62 degrees during sleeping hours.
- Reduce Energy Usage When Your Home is Unoccupied - The thermostat should be reduced or increased by 5 degrees depending on what season it is. (Example: 63 degrees in winter, 83 degrees in summer) when a home is empty for 4 hours or longer. Consider a programmable thermostat that raises or lowers the temperature when your home is unoccupied.
- Seal Air Leaks - Ducts through which the heated and cooled air passes should be checked periodically for leaks. Use duct tape to seal these leaks. Look especially for leaks between the register - the outlet into the room - and the duct.
- Water Flow Restrictors - Flow restrictors can be installed in most shower heads and faucets. This not only saves on your water bill but also saves on your hot water heating costs by reducing the amount that you use.
- Multiple Refrigerators - Be sure to fill empty space in your refrigerators with water bottles to help them run more efficiently.
- Ceiling Fans - Ceiling fans help to de-stratify the air and the air motion, especially in the summer, making you feel cooler. By using fans you may be able to raise your thermostat setting several degrees and save on your cooling costs.
- Caulking and Sealing your Home - In many homes, air leakage is the single largest cause of high utility bills. Tightening up your home involves the following tasks, most of which you can do yourself. (see below)
- Installing Gaskets - Behind interior and exterior electric outlets and switch plates; caulking, especially around the non-moving parts of window and door casements, the top plate and sole plate, and replacing old cracked caulk.
- Water Heater Jacket - A water heater's efficiency may be improved by adding an insulation jacket. Be sure to check manufacturer's recommendations before adding additional insulation. Some newer models should not be insulated.
- Window Shading and/or Tinting - A major source of heat gain in the summer is from the sun's rays entering your home through the windows. This is especially a problem on east and west windows and glass doors, where roof overhangs are less effective in shading the glass. Installing reflective film or solar screens can reduce glare and lower your cooling bill. Other outside shading, like awnings and greenery, produce the same benefit. Interior shades and drapes also help, to a lesser extent. Solar film can be applied yourself, usually directly to the interior surface of the glass. Solar screens, which can also be self-installed, have the advantage that they can be taken down in the winter and thus allow solar heating to lower your heating costs.
For more energy savings tips, visit www.touchstoneenergy.com/together-we-save