The greenest energy is the energy you don’t use. While cooler temperatures tend to bring higher utility bills, residents can cut down on costs and conserve energy by following these tips:
Weatherstrip doors and windows: This will help keep your home warmer by keeping heated air from leaking out.
Furnace inspection: Have a certified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor inspect your furnace. If your furnace is 15 years or older, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer system.
New filters: A clean filter helps your HVAC system operate at its best and last longer. You should change your filter as often as every three weeks to as little as every six months. This depends on various factors, like how often you actually use your system and what kind of unit you have (room air conditioners, gas furnaces, etc.) If you have pets or allergies, you may need to clean and replace your filters more often.
Adjust your thermostat: According to Energy.gov, you should set your home to 68 degrees when you are home and awake. But when you’re asleep or away, you can turn it lower. Setting your thermostat back about 10 degrees while sleeping or for at least eight hours a day can save you almost 10% on your bill over the course of a year. NEVER go below 55 degrees, because you could freeze your pipes. A programmable/smart thermostat is best. If your home is WiFi-enabled, a smart thermostat can help control your home’s temperature and cut heating and cooling costs by up to 20%.
Outdoor faucets off: Running or leaky outside faucets can cause pipes to freeze and explode. Flushing outside faucets before winter is a great way to remove any excess water that could freeze up later. You may even want to consider purchasing an insulated cover for each outdoor faucet.
Turn down your water heater: Lower the temperature to the warm setting (120 degrees). You can also have hot water pipe insulation installed, or cover your hot water heater with an insulating blanket.
Check your attic insulation: A quick way to see if you need more insulation is to look across your attic floor. If the insulation is even with or below the attic floor joists, it’s time to add more.
Install LED light bulbs: They use at least 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Swap out your holiday lights for LED versions for extra savings.
Unplug devices when not in use: Even when electronic devices are powered off, many are still using electricity if they are plugged in. This is called vampire power or phantom load, which can account for 25% of a product’s electric usage on average. And remember: Leaving your smartphone plugged in to a charger overnight not only wastes electricity, but it also strains the batteries over time.
For more information about ways to reduce energy use and assistance programs for residents interested in energy-saving solutions, visit www.sustainoakpark.com or contact email@example.com.