Cut cooling costs. Set your thermostat no lower than 78 degrees in the summer. Consider ceiling fans and a whole-house fan instead of air-conditioning―they use a lot less electricity.
Check your thermostat. Set it no higher than 68 degrees in the winter. For every degree lower, you’ll carve about 5 percent off your seasonal bill.
Garden to insulate. Plant trees and bushes on your house’s north side to keep winter winds at bay and on the south side for summer shade.
Harness the power of the sun. When it’s cold out, open the curtains to warm a room. (Keep them closed to cool rooms in the summer.)
Replace your filters. Clean or replace furnace, air conditioner and heat-pump filters regularly to keep the units running efficiently.
Seal drafts. Use caulk and weather-stripping to prevent air leaks around windows and doors. It’s a small investment that pays for itself many times over.
2. USE WATER WISELY
Water heating accounts for up to 25 percent of your utility bill. Cut costs now with these simple tips.
Stop the flow. Don’t let water run while you brush your teeth or wash dishes. You’ll save four gallons a minute.
Lower the heat. Most people keep their water heater hotter than needed. Don’t set it higher than 120 degrees.
Wash smart. Wash full loads of laundry in cold water, and opt for line-drying whenever possible. You’ll save on electricity and reduce the heat buildup in your home as well as the need for more air-conditioning.
Let the dishes slide. Run your dishwasher only when it’s full―you’ll use a third less water than when hand washing. Select the no-heat air-dry feature to increase your savings. And there’s no need to pre-rinse for today’s machines, so save a little water there, too.
3. POWER DOWN ON ENERGY
Save a bundle on your home electronics with these energy-reducing tips.
Unplug. Even when you’re not using your microwave, TV, computer or cell-phone charger, you’re paying for them. Unplug them! Better yet, plug clustered electronics into a power strip and turn them all off at once before you head to work, bed or vacation.
Put your computer to sleep. Better yet, shut it down. Turn off monitors if they’re not in use for 20 minutes, and CPUs if they’re not being used for more than two hours. Lose the screen savers as they waste energy! Use your lapt op, if you have one. They consume less power than PCs.
4. SHED SOME LIGHT
About 20 percent of electricity in the United States is spent on lightbulbs. Help trim that number.
Let the sun shine in. Don’t use lights during the day. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget.
Turn it off. Switch off the lights in rooms nobody’s in. Make a house rule: If there’s one person in a room, there should only be one light on.
Change bulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use almost 70 percent less energy, emit way less heat and last 10 times longer than traditional, incandescent bulbs―saving you $30 over the life of one bulb.
Space lamps smartly. Keep them away from air-conditioner thermostats; their heat will cause AC units to run longer.
Install dimmers. Lights that are dimmed cost less and extend the life of the bulb. A dimmer is easy to install, and it allows you to control the amount of light for any mood.
5. SCHEDULE AN AUDIT
Don’t throw money out the window! Contact a home energy auditor for a home assessment.
Ask your utility company if it offers free or discounted energy audits. Many will send an expert to your home for free, and some offer rebate programs to help pay for energy-efficient upgrades.
Hire a home energy expert. A certified Home Energy Rater can perform an energy-efficiency inspection. A good inspector should be at your home for at least two hours and give you a prioritized list of energy-saving tips. Search the Residential Energy Services Network at www .natresnet.org/directory/raters .aspx to find a certified rater.
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Coleman Real Estate Group
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