Cheap Tips with Big Savings
by Erin Mathe, Xcel Energy
Heating and cooling account for almost 50% of the energy use in a typical American home according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It's the largest single energy expense for most homes. Whether you rent or own, you can take steps to weatherize your home for little or no expense.
"Fall is a great time to take stock of your home's efficiency," Says Rebecca Olson, Home Energy Program Director at the Neighborhood Energy Connection. NEC helps homeowners figure out ways to save energy and money. "Once you get the checklist, you can start planning your energy efficiency projects before the winter hits." Here's how you can get started:
Steps that won't cost you a thing
Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. Your heating system will operate less and use less energy. You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day from its normal setting.
Set your water heater to 120 degrees. Water heating is the 2nd largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 18% of your utility bill. There are four ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, insulate your water heater, or buy a new, more efficient model.
Open the shades on south-facing windows to let warm sunlight in. Consider closing window coverings in rooms that receive no direct sunlight to insulate from cold window drafts. At night, close window coverings to retain heat. Up to 15% of your heat can escape through unprotected windows, but the solar heat gain from the sun during the day can conserve valuable energy.
Use cold water to wash clothes. According to ENERGY STAR, washing clothes in cold water will save you about $40 a year with an electric water heater and about $30 a year with a gas water heater.
Taken from Parade of Homes www.Paradefhomes.org, Written by Erin Mathe, Xcel Energy, September 7-29th, 2013