Insulate your home. Insulation reduces the amount of heat that enters your home from outside. In a well insulated house, less energy is consumed battling heat conducted in from the outside through walls and ceilings.
Seal up air leaks. A tightly sealed home reduces the amount of warm air that leaks into your home from outside. In a well sealed home, less energy is consumed battling warm air leaking in from outside.
Use shades to prevent the "greenhouse effect". Don't let your home heat up inside like a car with closed windows on a hot sunny day. Closing window shades during the day will prevent sunlight from entering your home and heating it up, decreasing the load on your cooling equipment.
Install a Ceiling fan. A ceiling fan cools in summer by circulating air. The air temperature is not reduced, but people feel cooler due to the breeze.
Turn air conditioner thermostats up a few degrees. Instead of cooling your home to 72 degrees F, try 75 or 78 degrees F. Every degree you increase the thermostat setting reduces the load on your cooling system.
Cool only the spaces you are in. Zone your cooling system or use window air conditioners or portable air conditioners so you air condition only the area you are in. This will greatly reduce energy consumption.
Programmable thermostat. Set a programmable thermostat up for your schedule do it runs air conditioning only when you are home.
Change or clean filters. Clean filters increase the airflow and efficiency of air conditioning equipment.
Attics can reach temperatures of 160 degrees F during the summer. When this happens, heat from the attic leaks into the living spaces of your home and makes your cooling equipment work harder. An attic fan removes hot air from your attic and replaces it with cooler air from outside, bringing the attic temperature down to 15-20 degrees F above the outdoor temperature. Solar attic fans have recently been developed to provide attic ventilation while using no electricity at all.
Service your heating system every year. It's the best money you'll spend. Cost for a typical service call to clean the unit and change filters in both the furnace and humidifier? An average between $75-$100, depending on where you live.
Install a programmable thermostat. A must. There are many different brands on the market that range in price from $40-$100. You can program it to lower the temperature while you're at work or sleeping and save up to 30-percent in a well insulated home. What's more, outdated thermostats are the weakest link in conserving energy. According to the government's Energy Information Administration, only about 11% of U.S. homes are equipped with modern programmable thermostats. A leading manufacturer estimates that homeowners can receive one to three months of free heating and cooling by installing a programmable thermostat. What are you waiting for?
Add weather stripping around windows and doors. A project that any homeowner can do. This also has a real impact on drafts and conserving energy. Door thresholds, window caulking, and plastic window film can go a long way in saving your money this winter. If you live in a drafty home, you could save up to 20% with an investment of as little as $25.
Utilize or install ceiling fans in your home. Remember learning that heat rises in physics class? Well, running the fans slowly and in reverse will keep that warm air circulating and keep you more comfortable. The bonus? The time your furnace runs will reduce. So will your monthly bill.
Check the arrangement of your furniture. Really. Many times people put couches and chairs over vents and in front of baseboard radiators, decreasing the efficiency of the units. By restricting the airflow, you increase the use of your furnace or boiler, and ultimately the energy used to heat your home.
Consider installing a tankless-water heater. Hey, this technology has been around for almost 70 years. Now units are less expensive and can save you hundreds of dollars each year. How? They create hot water on demand so there's no stored water needing to be continuously heated. (Think about when you're away or asleep.) Cost? Around $200-$250 more than a standard heater, but you'll recoup the cost increase in just two years.
What's more, standard water heaters tend to reduce in efficiency as time goes on. A seven-year-old tank heater runs at about 60-70% efficiency. While a tank-less heater of the same age runs at about 82%. The limitations? Multiple fixtures can't run at the same time, making it difficult to run your washing machine and take a shower simultaneously. But the savings are really worth it. Trust me.
Be smart about the temperature you set in your home. According to the EPA, you'll save up to 3% on your energy bills simply by turning down your thermostat just one degree.
Install thermo-pane windows in your home. You'll increase your home's energy efficiency up to 70%. Multi-pane windows can have R-values of as high as 9.1. The higher the R-value, the more resistant the glass is to losing heat. Conversely, your typical single pane glass has an R-value of 1.
Make sure your ceilings and attic are properly insulated. Heat rises, and if there isn't enough insulation in the space above, your money is going out the roof. Literally. Most ceilings and attic spaces should have at least an R-30 rating, although some areas of the country recommend an R-40-50 rating.
Let the sun be your guide. Why not? It's free energy. During the day, open up those drapes and blinds and let that sun heat your home. At night draw the curtains to keep the heat inside.
A small label can save you big money. Look for the energy star label on your appliances, easily found on washing machines, computers and stereo equipment. This label means the department of energy and the EPA have deemed these products as energy efficient.