These ideas have been around for awhile now but it is surprising how many of us don’t practice them. All have been proven to save real dollars. True, this type of savings is measured in hundreds and not thousands. Considering these are free or very low cost tips, no one can scoff at a few hundred dollars these days. If we all did them, these small changes would go a long way towards healing our planet.
- Here in North America it’s winter. Those home heating systems are running full throttle. This is the time to be checking to see if the filters need changing. Dirty filters slow air flow and decrease a heaters’ efficient operation, resulting in more energy consumption to produce less heat. Gas and oil heaters require bi-annual filter changes. During the cold months, electric furnaces require monthly filter changes. For heat pumps, monthly checks should be conducted to see if new filters are needed.
- Open windows and doors when air temperature is mild. Increasing natural air flow throughout your house is not only using less energy, but is creating a healthier household. Flu bugs don’t hang out for long when air freely flows throughout the house. Radon gases and those from granite countertops also do not collect in your home.
- In the summertime, raise the air conditioner thermostat five degrees. This is projected to save nearly 20 percent in cooling costs. When you go to bed, lower the heat or raise the air conditioning temperature (depending upon the season). This single act saves nearly 13 percent annually on energy costs.
- Run your dishwasher and clothes dryers with full loads. They actually function properly when fully loaded and cut overall costs to run them. On the same note, make sure the dryer vent to the outside of your house is periodically cleaned as lint will back up. Clean the lint trap on your dryer out every time you use it.
- Close your fire place damper when it is not in use. Some even suggest sealing it up during the warm months to stop the flow of air from the chimney. Similarly, turn off ceiling fans when you aren’t in the room. Their value is to make you feel cooler than you really are, and if you aren’t there to cool, they are just using energy.
- Turn your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Farenheit and your refrigerator to between 37 to 40 degrees Farenheit. You probably won’t notice either of these two adjustments but together they add up to real savings.
- Insulate everywhere in your home that is practicable. Choose insulation based on R value not thickness. R38 is recommended for home insulation. Wrapping hot water pipes and your hot water heater in appropriate insulation is also suggested.
These are just a few ways to cut energy costs for the New Year without feeling like you are being deprived and mother earth will thank us all for it.
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