Heating and Cooling Tips
• Look for the ENERGY STAR label on home appliances and products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
• Install a programmable thermostat to avoid heating or cooling your home when you’re not there.
• Make sure your appliances and heating and cooling systems are properly maintained. Check your owner’s manuals for the recommended maintenance.
• Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120 degrees.
• Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.
• Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
• Check your ducts for air leaks.
• Whole-house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic.
• Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
• Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than
• Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but not to block the airflow. Place your room air conditioner on the north side of the house. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
Water Heating Tips
• Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
• Repair leaky faucets and toilets promptly; a leaky faucet or toilet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
• Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
• Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Some new water heaters have built-in heat traps.
• Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer’s advice.
• Check the insulation levels in your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces.
• Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets that can leak air into or out of your home.
• Check for open fireplace dampers.
• Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
• Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).
• Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
• During the heating season:
Keep window coverings on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home.
• During the cooling season:
Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.