|The following tips were given during an electrical audit of my house. If you haven't already called your local electric company, call them. They will come out and go through your house for free and show you where you can save money. Ours provided materials such as a blanket for the hot water heater, caulking, and weather strips for the windows & doors. Keep a record of your utility bills. You must know how much energy you use and how you use it in order to save. Save your bill stubs and record the cost and consumption amounts on the bill.
Defrost refrigerators regularly. Don't let more than 1/4 inch of frost build up. Frost acts as an insulator, making the refrigerator use more energy to maintain temperature levels. Keep the refrigerator and/or freezer as full as possible (without overloading). Set the refrigerator to cool to about 36-40 degrees F and the freezer to 0 degrees F. Clean the condenser coils of the refrigerator when dirty. Coils need cleaning at least once a year. Refer to the refrigerator's user's guide for proper cleaning methods. Check the refrigerator gaskets for a tight seal. Close the door on a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill through easily, cold air is escaping from the r refrigerator. Have the seals replaced.
Utilize your automatic dishwasher when you have a full load. Proper loading is required for efficient dishwasher operation. Place articles as recommended by the manufacturer so water can circulate freely. Consider the use of the "air dry" or "energy saver" cycle of the automatic dishwasher. On many models this saves approximately 20 minutes of heat-on time.
When using the oven, bake several items at the same time. Preheat for only 5 minutes, and turn off the oven 10 minutes ahead of time. Toaster ovens, microwave ovens and slow cookers use less energy than the oven. Wash full loads. Wash clothes in cold water as much as possible. Clean dryer lint screen after each load.
Turn off lights in a room when it is no longer in use. Consider installing timers or photocells to control exterior lighting. Incandescent bulbs can be replaced with screw-in compact fluorescent lamps which use at least 1/3 the energy and can last 10 times as long. A thermostat setting of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit will save energy during the cooling season. When away from home for extended periods,turn the thermostat up to save energy. Usually, the smaller your home is or the longer you are away, the greater the savings are.
A thermostat setting of 68-70 degrees F will save energy during the heating season. When away from home for extended periods, turn the thermostat down to save energy. Consider installing a clock thermostat. Seal air leakage in duct connections and/or around plenum area.
Your heating and cooling systems require annual checkups to maintain peak efficiency. Research has shown that if your refrigerant level is just 10% less than what it should be, your system's efficiency can be decreased by up to 50%. Consider obtaining a service agreement with a licensed air conditioning contractor or dealer to assure regular maintenance is performed. Filters should be checked every two weeks during cooling season and once a month during heating season. Dirty filters should be cleaned or replaced. Ventilation through windows and doors or by ceiling fans, portable fans or whole-house fans provide comfort and reduces the need for air conditioning.
Your hot water temperature should be 140 degrees F if you have an automatic dishwasher and 120 degrees if you do not. Water conservation will save energy. Consider using the lowest water temperature possible, flow restrictors, a timer to shut off electric water heaters at night or when no one is home. Turn the water heater off during extended absences. Insulate your water heater tank and all of the exposed water distribution lines from the tank. Please look for any warning label on the hot water tank before installing the jacket.
Attic ventilation allows moisture and hot air to escape from the attic during the summer months. During the winter months good ventilation will prevent moisture build-up in the attic area. During the summer, close drapes or blinds on the sunny sides of the home or apartment. In the winter, open shades and curtains to let in the warmth of the sun; close them when the sun goes down or doesn't shine. Try to preserve trees or other landscaping elements that shade the sunny sides of the home. Exterior window shading helps prevent heat gain in the summer. Tinted or reflective glass can reduce solar heat gain, but also reduces solar heating in the winter. Repair or replace weather-stripping when needed. Be sure that outside door thresholds are tight. Exterior window and door frame caulking should be maintained in good condition. Caulk where frame meets wall. The outdoor portion of your air conditioner should be kept clear of debris. Keep a 2' clearance to allow for proper air circulation.
Fireplaces can waste energy. Make sure that the damper is tight and kept closed when the fireplace is not in use. Cover the front of the fireplace with a glass enclosure that has an adjustable damper or duct outside air for combustion directly into the fireplace.