Install these energy-efficient measures:
- Replace and recycle your old refrigerator and purchase energy-efficient models. Units only 10 years old can use twice as much electricity as a new ENERGY STAR® labeled model.
- Insulate ceilings to R-38 levels if your attic has less than R-19.
Caulk windows, doors and anywhere air leaks in or out. Do not caulk around water heater and furnace exhaust pipes.
- Weatherstrip around windows and doors.
- Wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct wrap, or use mastic sealant.
- Install energy-saver showerheads.
- When buying new appliances, be sure to purchase energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® labeled models.
- Set the furnace thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, and the air-conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health permitting. 3 percent to 5 percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68 degrees and for each degree the air conditioner is set below 78 degrees.
- If your old air conditioner is on its way out replace it with ENERGY STAR® labeled energy-efficient model.
- Use compact fluorescent lamps. You can lower your lighting bill by converting to energy-efficient low-wattage compact fluorescent lighting and fixtures.
- Replace old windows with new high performance dual pane windows.
- Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly, following manufacturer's instructions.
- Set the water heater thermostat at 140 degrees or "normal." If you have a dishwasher. Otherwise, set it at 120 degrees or "low." Check your dishwasher to see if you can use 120 degree water. Follow the manufacturer's direction on yearly maintenance to extend the life of your unit.
- Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water.
- Wash only full loads in a dishwasher and use the shortest cycle that will get your dishes clean. If operating instructions allow, turn off the dishwasher before the drying cycle, open the door and let the dishes dry naturally.
- Defrost refrigerators and freezers before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick.
- Install shades, awnings or sunscreens on windows facing south and/or west to block summer light. In winter, open shades on sunny days to help warm rooms.
- Close the damper when the fireplace is not being used. Try not to use the fireplace and central heating system at the same time.