Everyone’s looking for ways to pare down their monthly budget these days. One big line item is utility bills. Why pay more if you don’t have to? Most homeowners can save up to 25% on their monthly bill by taking basic steps to save energy. According to Steve Byers, principal of EnergyLogic Solutions, here are the top three ways to do it:
1. Get a home energy audit.
Energy efficient homes are more comfortable, healthy and cost less to heat and cool. A home energy audit reveals where heat or cool air is leaking or energy is being wasted. Auditors evaluate insulation, windows, air ducts, heating and cooling systems and appliances. They recommend improvements and show the impact on your monthly utility bill.
- You can conduct a simple home energy audit yourself, contact your local utility, or call an independent energy auditor for a more comprehensive examination.
- For more information about home energy audits, including free tools and
calculators, visit www.colorado.gov/energy/ or www.energysavers.gov
2. Insulate and seal air leaks.
Heating and cooling accounts for about 43% of your utility bill. Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling from 20 to 50%. Insulation can be added to your attic, walls, floors, crawl spaces and basement.
Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter can waste a lot of your energy dollars. Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, air ducts, fireplace, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets. Caulk, seal or weatherstrip them.
3. Tame your appliances and electronics.
Appliances and home electronics account for about 20 percent of most people’s energy bills. This includes clothes washers/dryers, computers, refrigerators and freezers, televisions and home entertainment systems.
- Don’t keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment and 5°F for the freezer.
- Replace an old refrigerator with a new one with an ENERGY STAR label and save 20 to 40% on refrigerator energy use.
- Use cold water for clothes washing; line dry clothes to reduce energy use and extend the life of
- Better yet, replace the old clothes washer with a new one with an Energy Star label and cut your clothes washing energy use by 50%.
- Up to 10 percent of home energy is used by electronics that use energy even when they are turned off. These “energy vampires” include televisions, computers, printers and DVD/CD players. Unplug them when not in use, or use a power strip and turn it off at night. Turn off all those blinking digital clocks on your appliances; they use energy too.
- For every degree you lower the thermostat this winter, you can save between 1 and 3 percent on
your heating bill. A programmable thermostat can make this automatic.
For more information:
Colorado Energy Office
Energy savings tips, rebates, incentives and contractor information:
U.S. Department of Energy
“Energy Savers Booklet: Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home”