The U.S. Department of Energy reports that the nation’s 113 million residences use an estimated 22 percent of the country’s power. The average annual household energy bill is more than $2,000. The following tips can help you reduce the amount you spend by up to 25 percent.
1. Plant a tree in the right location and it’ll grow to provide shade during the summer, which reduces air-conditioning costs. Trees also capture and remove carbon from the air.
2. Keep your window coverings closed during the hottest part of summer days and open them on south-facing windows during the winter. Installing insulating blinds and shades can also help lower energy costs.
3. Seal leaks with caulk or weather stripping around windows and doors, and where plumbing, electrical, and ducting comes through walls, floors, and ceilings.
4. Service your heater or boiler annually to extend its life and improve its efficiency. Repair any problems before they become expensive emergencies.
5. Replace your air filter. Changing it regularly can save you 5 to 15 percent on your utility costs while improving the air quality in your home.
6. Smarten up by installing a programmable thermostat and creating timed settings that adjust the temperature when you’re away or in different rooms. You may save as much as 15 percent annually by dialing the temperature up or down 10 to 15 degrees, depending on the season, for eight hours a day.
7. Insulate your home. Heat naturally moves to cooler areas until equilibrium is reached. This air infiltration accounts for some 25 to 60 percent of energy used to heat and cool a home. Insulation’s capacity for thermal resistance reduces this heat exchange, and while it can seem like a pricey investment, it’s one that can last up to 100 years, meaning it will benefit your pocketbook in the long run.