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Having observed many home inspections over the past 30 years, I know that there are simple things that can be done in your home to save energy.  Quality windows, proper insulation, and the right heating and cooling systems are important in constructing or in remodeling a home, but that should be left for another day and another article.  These tips are simple and inexpensive things that can be done to save money as well as energy.

  • Clean or change filters in the furnace at least every 90 days.  Do it regularly and on a schedule.  This will keep the heating and cooling systems working efficiently and help to keep the air in your home cleaner.
  • Set your thermostat at settings that will conserve the usage of your AC and furnace.  Invest in a thermostat that can be set for different temperatures during different times of the day.  There is no need to heat or cool a vacant home at the same temperatures that are needed when it’s occupied.  The recommendations for maximum savings are 78 degrees during the summer months and 68 degrees during the winter.  Every degree above 78 in the summer and below 68 in the winter can potentially save between 2-10 percent on costs.
  • Do not block vents with furniture.  Allow air to flow through the house as it was designed to do.
  • Keep the blinds/drapes closed during the hot part of the day in summer and open during the winter to allow the sun to shine in.
  • Be sure each of the windows that open and close has screens.  In good weather open those windows to allow outside air to circulate through the home.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics that are not used frequently.
  • Turn off lights, lamps, and fans when the room is not being used.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with the new Energy Star rated compact fluorescents.  They are more expensive to purchase, but they last longer and use less energy.  Also, dust the bulbs regularly to improve the light output.
  • Clean the coils on the back of your refrigerator.
  • A full refrigerator is more efficient.  If necessary, fill the fridge with water bottles to keep it full.  Proper settings for the refrigerator are 37 degrees and 0 for the freezer (verify with a thermometer).
  • For doors and windows that don’t fit tight put some weather stripping around them.
  • Fix water leaks immediately.  Small leaks can add up to big energy wasters.
  • Use cold water for washing and rinsing clothing.  They get just as clean as in hot water.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater.  The factory sets them at 140 degrees, which is more than you need.  122 degrees is adequate.

Reducing energy costs can be simple and inexpensive.  The key is to focus on the opportunities and follow through with them.

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