Little things make a difference, and small savings add up. Are you an air-conditioner blaster? A heat hoarder? There are ways to stay comfortable without throwing money away. Keep your thermostat on 73 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter, and try these easy tips:
- Install ceiling fans to circulate air.
- Open windows across the house from each other during cool times of the day and enjoy a pleasant breeze.
- Keep blinds and curtains closed on the sunny side of the house.
- Install window film, especially on windows on the southern side of your house.
- Run appliances that create heat, such as the oven, dishwasher and dryer, at cooler times of the day.
- Use spot lighting rather than whole-room lighting to keep rooms from heating up.
- Open blinds and curtains and let the sun warm your home.
- Keep fireplace dampers closed when not in use to keep cold air out and warm air in.
- Tune up your furnace yearly.
- Scatter throw blankets around the house so you can hang out in comfort.
- Check that your windows and doors are sealed properly.
- Beef up your insulation, especially in the attic.
- Install storm doors. They trap air from the outside and help insulate.
- It's commonly thought that closing off vents in unused rooms. Actually, that can cause your furnace to run less efficiently because it changes the air pressure in the entire system. Stick to closing maybe just 10% of the vents in your house.
- Install or fix your thermostat so that you can regulate zones of the house and set a timer for temperature changes.
- Clean heating and air ducts, vents and grills to maximize air flow.
- Change air filters regularly.
Plug In To Energy Efficiency
Got things humming all day long? These smart choices and small changes can help you use less energy—and save more money.
- Switch to Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs. This is the easiest and most effective change you can make to reduce your energy use.
- Look for the Energy Star label when replacing appliances.
- Wash full loads of dishes and clothes.
- Dry loads of clothes one after the other to take advantage of the heat left in the dryer.
- Clean the lint filter after every load.
- Keep refrigerators comfortably full.
- Avoid keeping little-used refrigerators and freezers running in the garage.
- Clean refrigerator coils twice a year.
- Unplug appliances that are not in use.
Keep it simple. Sure, the latest appliances offer convenience, but there's nothing like the muscles you build kneading your own bread, cranking your own ice cream, and sweeping the floor with a good ol' fashioned broom.
Contact your power company about an in-home energy audit to find out specific ways to save money. Most power companies offer them for free or for a minimal charge, and some even offer a quick on-line audit where you can discover changes you can make that will make a difference in your monthly bills.