Free and Low Cost Recommendations
Replace Light Bulbs
- Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and save 75% off lighting costs.
- Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.
- Installing faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads will cut water heating costs by 50% and save up to $300 per year. It will also cut water use by up to 50%.
Adjust Your Thermostat
- Setting your air conditioner 5° higher will save up to 20% on cooling costs.
Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
- Always buy ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and equipment - they're up to 40% more efficient. Find rebates and incentives in your area by going to: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=rebate.rebate_locator
Adjust Your Water Heater
- Turn your water heater down to 120° or the "Normal" setting when home, and to the lowest setting when away. Water heating accounts for about 13% of home energy costs.
Keep Cool with Ceiling Fans
- Reduce air conditioning costs by using fans, keeping windows and doors shut and closing shades during the day. Most ceiling fans use less energy than a light bulb.
Be Smart About Lighting
- Turn off unnecessary lighting and use task or desktop lamps with CFLs instead of overhead lights.
Power down Your Computer
- Enable "power management" on all computers and make sure to turn them off at night. A laptop computer uses up to 90% less energy than bigger desktop models.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
- When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90% of the energy used in a clothes washer goes to water heating.
Load Up Your Dishwasher
- Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded. Fewer loads reduce energy and water use.
Maintain Your Clothes Dryer
- Make sure your dryer's outside vent is clear and clean the lint filter after every load. When shopping for a new dryer look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off when clothes are dry.
Find and Seal Leaks
- Sealing cracks, gaps, leaks and adding insulation can save up to 20% on home heating and cooling costs.
- Test for air leaks by holding a lit incense stick next to windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing or weather stripping.
- Take a room-by-room tour of ENERGY STAR and learn what you can do for a more comfortable home that saves energy, money and our environment. Launch the room-by-room tour in a popup window.
Good Investment Recommendations
- Install an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat – It can save over $150 and pays for itself in less than 12 months. Make sure to install it away from natural cool and hot spots.
Seal Your Ducts
- Have your heating and cooling ducts professionally sealed to save up to $190 per year.
Seal Your Home
- Seal your home's envelope – walls, floor, ceiling and roof – to save up to 10% on your annual energy bill.
- Add weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce drafts.
- Use caulking to seal around ducts, plumbing and any other openings in walls, floors and ceilings to reduce air leakage. Begin in the attic, a common place for warm air to escape.
- Seal larger gaps that cannot be covered with caulk or with expanding foam.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
- After air sealing, determine the current level of insulation. In the attic, measure the depth of existing insulation using a ruler. If there is less than R-22 (7 inches of fiber glass or rock wool or 6 inches of cellulose) you could probably benefit by adding more. Most U.S. homes should have between R-22 and R-49 insulation in the attic. Insulating ceilings, walls, attics, floors, crawl spaces and basements to recommended standards can reduce heating and cooling costs by 5% to 25%.
Upgrade Your Heating System
- Replace heating equipment more than 15 years old with new ENERGY STAR qualified models. Equipment must be sized and installed properly.
- Old furnaces cost more to operate per year than new, ENERGY STAR qualified models that are 15% more efficient than standard models.
- An ENERGY STAR qualified electric heat pump is 20% more efficient and can save you about $130 annually.
- An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler uses features like electric ignition and new combustion technologies that extract more heat from the same amount of fuel, to be 10% more efficient than a new, standard model.
Maintain Your Cooling System
- Have your air conditioning unit serviced to cut 15% of cooling costs.
- Install high efficiency windows, which are 40% more efficient than standard windows. Consider replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows that are gas-filled. High performance glass (e.g., low emissivity or "low-e" glass) also conserve energy. ENERGY STAR qualified windows may help reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15%. The windows must be sized and installed properly.
Note: Some measures may not be relevant depending on the age of your home and appliances and past improvements made to your home.