One of the most powerful potential energy-savers in your home isn’t a gadget or a new appliance, it’s you. This section suggests small adjustments in your behavior that will save you energy and money.
Some people are hesitant to adjust the thermostat when they leave their home for the day, because they worry that it will cost more money for the furnace (or A/C) to “catch up” when they return. That’s a myth: it will always cost you more money to keep your home at a constant temperature.
Programmable thermostats will have these settings built in, but if you do not have a programmable thermostat you can make manual adjustments. Adjust your thermostat 5-8 degrees for times you’re away from home, and you can save $100 a year.
A computers can be a tremendous energy vampire if you allow it to be, especially if you have a desktop computer. Make sure to turn it off when you’re not using it, especially at night. Windows desktops have power management settings that can save you energy — be sure to activate them. And most computers in use today don’t need a screen saver; in fact, screen savers cause the monitor to burn more energy. Want to learn more details about computers and energy efficiency? Go here!
It’s no shock that you save money by hanging your clothes out to dry when weather permits. But also keep in mind that you’ll save energy by drying towels and heavier cotton materials in separate loads from lighter fabrics. Additionally, if your dryer has a moisture sensor, use it and save 15% on energy costs… and add on to the life expectancy of your clothes by not over-drying them!
If you are judicious about cleaning the lint filter with every load you will see a tremendous efficiency boost with your dryer. One other handy tip is to scrub the lint filter with a soapy old tooth brush once per month if you use dryer sheets, because that will remove the residue they leave behind… and allow your dryer to perform that much more efficiently. It’s also a good idea to periodically vacuum out the lint trap with the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner… and of course to periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it’s not blocked.
Just like your sink drain after you wash dishes, your water heater accumulates some sediment in the bottom. Depending on how hard your water is, it’s not a lot – but it adds up. Drain your water heater annually to remove any sediment that may have built up in it, which will help it run more efficiently and add years to its life.
Tune up your furnace yearly. Fall is recommended, because contractors are busier in winter and therefore more expensive. Don’t forget to replace the furnace filter regularly. You should be replacing it:
1. When it is visibly dirty;
2. Every 3 months;
3. And monthly during heating season, to keep the furnace running most efficiently
If it is not in the shade of a tree, plant a tree near your air conditioner. This simple step will reduce the load on it tremendously. As a part of your spring cleaning routine, you should also clean the indoor and outdoor coils of your air conditioner… as well as all blower components. Clean air conditioners run much more efficiently and cheaply.