A Few Home Energy Tips

Buy Energy Star Appliances

Look for the energy use label.  It will give you the estimated yearly operating cost of the appliance.  If it has the energy star logo on it, you will have lower energy bills and less pollution than standard models.  More than 18,000 products in 35 different categories are covered in the Energy Star program.  A home fully equipped with Energy Star products will use about 30 percent less energy, saving around $600 a year.  Go to energystar.gov to see qualified products and learn more.

Fix Those Water Leaks

One faulty faucet can waste up to 3 gallons of water per day.  Sometimes a leak can be fixed by just tightening the connections.  If you have a leak that is too hard to get to, it is worth calling a plumber.  Another plus:  by fixing the leak, you can decrease the risk of mold.

Install Low-Flow Showerheads and Toilets

Most older model toilets waste large amounts of water. In fact, more than 30 percent of indoor residential water use is flushed.  Newer low-flow models use less than a gallon.  You can save water and money in your shower with a low-flow showerhead.  The devices are simple to install and are relatively inexpensive.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat will pay for itself in one season.  By maintaining a constant heating/cooling level, and always ‘remembering’ to turn down the heat at night, the average family will save $150 a year, according to the EPA. Programmable thermostats can be picked up from hardware stores, home improvement stores and major manufacturers for as little as $50.  Installing one is simple   Usually, you will connect up a few wires in the back once you remove your old one (shut off the power to the area first).  But if you have any doubt, it’s a quick fix for an electrician or handyman.

Dodge Drafts and Seal Air Leaks

One of the easiest ways to save money around the house is to stop drafts.  They can increase your energy bills 5 to 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.  Check for window drafts by carefully holding a candle or an incense stick up to each window and watch the smoke or flame to see if there is a leak. (Be sure to stay away from flammables:  curtains, shades, etc.)  Then use caulking or weather-stripping to seal the cracks.  Check older caulking and weather-stripping.  Over time, it can shrink.  To stop drafts at your doors, make or buy a ‘draft snake’ to put up against the bottom of your door.  Make sure you close in any holes or cracks in the foundation.