Windows & Doors
• Drapes: Keep drapes open on windows facing the sun in the daytime, but close all drapes at night. Keeping shades and drapes closed will reduce chill from cold windows, lessen drafts, and reduce costs.
• Windows: repair broken windows. Even a small crack drives up fuel bills. For a loose window, use caulk. Tightening loose panes cuts the cold coming into the house.
• Storm Windows: Install them! They pay for themselves by keeping cold air out.
• Close storm doors as well as your regular door. You need both to cut energy costs. Seal air leaks by caulking and weather–stripping doors. That keeps heat in – and heating costs down.
• Fluorescent Bulbs: These bulbs may cost more than regular light bulbs but last up to ten times longer. They also give off less heat, so they keep the house cool in the summer.
To make fluorescent bulbs save you money:
1. Switch Them: replace regular bulbs that are on at least 15 minutes at a time and used three hours a day with screw in fluorescence can cut lighting costs up to 75%.
2. Check Sales: Especially during National Energy Month (October). Stores often have sale prices on fluorescent bulbs.
3. Try CFLs: Compact fluorescent lamps are great for portable table and floor lamps, even in torchiere fixtures. They save you even more than regular fluorescent bulbs.
4. Keep Bulbs Clean: Dust can cut light as much as 50%.
Refrigerators & Freezers
• Temperature: Keeping refrigerators too cold costs money. Proper temperatures are between 37° – 40°F for fresh food, and between 0° – 5°F for your freezer. One easy way to check is to put one thermometer in a glass of water in the center of the refrigerator, and another between packages in the freezer. Read them after 24 hours.
• Refrigerator Doors: Fold a dollar bill and close the refrigerator door on it. If it slips out easilly, the seal needs replacing. The interior temperature of the refrigerator can increase by 10°F each time you open the door.
• Defrosting: Do it regularly. Frost makes refrigerators less efficient and spoils food quicker.
• Cover & Wrap Food: Uncovered foods and liquids release moisture and drive up electricity costs.
• Got a Second Refrigerator?: Think about whether you really need one or if it just stores a few six packs of beer or soda. Remember, it costs about $250 a year to keep around.
• Buying a New Refrigerator: Check with the local weatherization office, you might qualify for a free replacement. Check with your appliance dealer about upcoming promotions on efficient refrigerators. The most efficient carry an Energy Star Label.
• Air Conditioners: Clean filters once a month.
• Central Air: Check the filters monthly and replace them if they're dirty.
• Shades: Close them during the day, especially on the east and west sides of your home.
• Windows: Close them during hottest hours every day. At night, open window opposite one another for cross ventilation.
• Exhaust Fans: Got them in the bathroom and kitchen? Use them. They remove heat and moisture.
• Ceiling Fans: Use them to reduce cooling costs. A ceiling fan with the air conditioner on low will provide the same comfort as an air conditioner set to high, and will save money.
• Buy "seasoned" wood that has already been allowed to dry out.
• Lessen heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox, slightly opening the nearest window, closing doors leading to the room where your fireplace is, and lowering the thermostat to between 50° – 55°F when the fire is on.
• Add glass doors to the face of the fireplace and leave them closed after the fire has died down to keep heat in.
• Dishwasher: Wash only full loads; it costs the same amount to wash one dish as a whole load. Air–dry dishes. Open the door and dishes will dry faster. The "rinse–hold" cycle consumes up to seven gallons of hot water. Hand wash dishes in cold water for later washing. Fill the dishwasher with detergent before running. Dry detergent may cake, while liquid can leak.
• Washing by hand: Rinse dishes in groups instead of one at a time and wait until you have a sink full. Don't leave the water running.
Lower Water Bills
• The water heater is the second biggest energy user in the home. 700 gallons of water a week is used for a family of four, each showering five minutes a day. Heating that water can cost up to $33 a month.
• To cut costs, install a low-flow showerhead. It can save $2 a month for each person in the household.
• Turn the water heater thermostat down to 115°F. This will not only save energy, but will prevent minor burns.
• Take showers over baths. Showers use half as much hot water as a full bathtub.
• Fixing hot water leaks can save not just on water, but on heating costs as well. One drop a second from a leaky faucet can waste as much as 60 gallons a week.
• Check your furnace's filter each month and change when dirty.
• Clean area around the furnace by removing trash and anything that can catch fire; you will not only keep your family safe, but it will also improve the airflow to the furnace.
• Have your furnace inspected and tuned–up by a professional once a year.
• Save as much as $25 a month by turning your thermostat back 5°F.
• Install an automatic thermostat that allows you to reduce the temperature after you go to bed, and have it turn back up before you wake – then down again after leaving for work.
• Make sure all heating registers, air suppliers and return vents are unblocked.
• Don't use your stove to heat your home. Not only is it expensive, but it doesn't heat well and is extremely dangerous.