Follow these five smart ways to cut energy costs without sacrificing comfort.
1. HEAT AND COOL YOUR HOME MORE EFFECTIVELY
Keeping comfortable doesn’t have to cost a bundle.
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.