From Dominion East Ohio:
Tips to Save on Winter Heating Bills
- Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees. In the winter, set the thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees during the day and to 58 degrees at night or when away from home for several hours. If you have a heat pump, make sure to slowly increase the temperature to avoid running the emergency heat. You can learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
- Seal air leaks. Seal all holes from pipes and wires that enter/exit the living space. This includes entrances, pull-downs and attic stair openings, light fixtures, pipes and wires. Attic entryways should be weather stripped and insulated.
- Seal off fireplaces. Never use a fireplace as a heat source for your home. Even as a supplemental heat source, the cold air introduced to a warm home through an open flue isn’t as efficient as sealing off a fireplace and using the primary source of heat. For natural gas fireplaces, turn off the pilot light when not in use. Seal off the fireplace area or the flue area to prevent cold air from leaking in. (Note: Building codes in some areas require that the damper in your chimney to be permanently blocked open if you install gas logs. Please check the building code for your area for the appropriate procedure.)
- Seal duct work. This is the number one way to conserve energy. Make sure that all ductwork is sealed at joints and intersections with duct sealer or silicone caulk. Otherwise, supply ductwork can leak heated air into the attic or crawl space, and outside air can be drawn into the return ductwork, increasing costs and reducing comfort dramatically. Ducts can be sealed using foil-backed tape or silicon caulking.
- Lower water heater to 120-125 degrees. Many water heaters are automatically set at 140 degrees. Lowering the temperature on your water heater to between 120 and 125 degrees will reduce the amount of fuel needed to heat the water.
- Change furnace filters every month. This is the number one reason for furnace breakdowns. Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Have a professional check and clean furnaces once a year.
- Weatherstrip doors and windows. Inspect windows and doors for air leaks. If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then the door or window needs sealing. Air leaks can be sealed with caulking or weather-stripping.
- Insulate water pipes coming from the water heater. Insulate the first 3- to 6-feet of cold and hot water pipes near the water heater. Insulating all hot water pipes is not necessary where pipes are located in a crawlspace or attic.
- Add an insulation blanket to water heater. Wrapping the water heater with an insulation blanket can save heating money by slowing the drop in temperature from the hot water tank as it sits unused. Inexpensive insulation kits are available at most home improvement stores.
- Add insulation to attic. When adding insulation, start at the top and work down only after eliminating air infiltration.
Tips to Save Energy and Keep Cool This Summer
- Raise your thermostat to 78º. If you are away from home for more than eight hours, raise the thermostat setting and you can expect to see up to a 3% savings on cooling costs for each degree of setback. This is the number one way to conserve energy. This will reduce the amount of energy used to cool your home while you’re away. You can learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
- Keep shades closed when the air conditioner is on. Sunny windows account for 40 percent of unwanted heat and can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.
- Check and clean filters. Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.
- Clear attic vents. If the home has an attic fan, make sure it is functioning properly.
- Install ceiling fans and make sure they are blowing down. Don’t underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. The use of ceiling fans can mean savings of around 25% on cooling costs and can make the temperature seem 10 degrees cooler. Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing downward (in a counter-clockwise direction) to send air past your body.
- Postpone activities that require hot water and large energy use – such as washing dishes or clothes – to early morning or late evening. This will keep from adding more heat and humidity to the home. Use the dishwasher and clothes washer late in the evening. When used during the day, these appliances produce additional heat, causing your air conditioner to work harder.
Tips to Save Energy Year Round
- Use cold water to wash dishes and clothes. This will save on water heating costs.
- Line dry your clothes.
- Turn off lights. Turn lights off when exiting a room. They add to the heat in the home. Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient compact florescent lights (CFLs). And remember to recycle CFLs whenever possible.
- Air dry dishes. Use the air-dry setting or let dishes air-dry by propping the door open slightly after the final rinse cycle. Don’t do this, however, if high humidity is a problem in your home. Run full loads only.
- Program your programmable thermostat, or install one and then use it!
- Unplug equipment not in use. Electric chargers, televisions and audio/video equipment use electricity and produce heat even when they are not in use.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with florescents or LED’s.
- Replace refrigerators over 10 years old. Get rid of unnecessary refrigerators- especially old ones. Keeping your old refrigerator and running it to keep extra drinks cold is a bad energy choice. Unplug any appliance when it’s not in use.
- Buy Energy Star Appliances, such as clothes washers, dishwashers, furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, TV’s, and computers.
- Replace old, inefficient equipment- especially refrigerators. Running an older refrigerator can use up to three times the energy of a modern one. If your furnace, air conditioner, water heater, or refrigerator are more than 10 years old, consider replacing them with more energy efficient ones.
- Walk or ride your bike.
- Buy a house close to the places you need to go.