Owning and operating a home can be expensive, but one way to save money is to save energy. Saving energy doesn’t have to mean huge sacrifices in comfort or quality of life. Today, many savvy Colorado and Wyoming homeowners take these simple steps to keep their homes operating efficiently and economically. By giving a little attention to your HVAC system, including your air conditioner, furnace, water heater, and heat pump, as well as addressing other common energy guzzlers, you can save, too!
Here are 10 steps you can take today:
1. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120 degrees).
Most water heaters come from the factory with a default setting of 140 degrees. Lowering the setting to 120 degrees not only saves energy, it also prevents scalding. This is especially important in homes with young children.
2. Make sure your water heater has an insulating blanket.
Installing an insulating blanket is a quick, inexpensive fix that will pay for itself within a year in energy cost savings.
3. Make sure your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump receive professional maintenance each year. Look for the ENERGYSTAR label when replacing your system.
Regular professional maintenance can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your HVAC system by preventing costly breakdowns, as well as by keeping your equipment operating at peak efficiency. When it is time to buy a new system, the ENERGYSTAR label will help you determine the models that are most energy efficient. This is an important consideration when making your buying decision because it directly impacts the overall cost. As a general rule, purchasing the most efficient system you can afford will give you the greatest savings over time.
4. Replace your incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or LEDs.
CFLs and LEDs are more expensive to purchase than the standard incandescent bulbs but can save three-quarters of the electricity used. Start by replacing incandescents that are 60-100W and are used several hours a day.
5. Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms.
Consider installing timers, photo cells or occupancy sensors to make turning off lights in empty rooms and spaces effortless.
6. Turn off your computer when you are not using it.
Turn off the monitor if you aren’t using it for more than 20 minutes, and turn off both the CPU and the monitor if they won’t be used for more than 2 hours.
7. Unplug equipment that drains energy when not in use.
Many appliances use energy even when they are not turned on such as cell phone chargers, fans, televisions and coffee makers.
8. Install a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat is an inexpensive device that makes your HVAC smart by only heating and cooling your home when you need it. While you are at work or school during the day or sleeping at night, the temperature setting adjusts so your home is comfortable, but you are not paying for energy that you don’t need.
9. Clean or replace filters in your furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump.
Replacing (or cleaning) your air filters every 30-60 days (depending on need) will keep your system clean and efficient, and help prevent unnecessary wear and tear.
10. Caulk leaky windows and doors.
Improve the comfort of your home and stop paying for wasted energy by sealing air leaks and adding sufficient insulation.