We’d all like to do our part to conserve energy, but many of us aren’t quite sure where to begin. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to maximize your home’s energy eﬃciency and lower your monthly electric and gas bills.
A good way to start is by evaluating the landscaping in your yard. If there are no trees shading the house, the sun’s radiation is adding extra heat to your home in the summer. Planting a few deciduous trees and shrubs will lower your cooling costs by easing the burden on your air conditioner. After the leaves have fallen, the sun’s rays will help keep your home warm during the winter.
Inside your home, old windows are a major source of both heat loss and heat absorption. If you’re not ready to replace them, you can increase their eﬃciency by installing storm windows and weather-stripping.
If you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, replace them with compact fluorescents (CFLs). While CFLs are slightly more expensive, they last 10,000 hours and use about 27 watts of power. In contrast, an equally bright 100 watt incandescent bulb only lasts about 1,000 hours.
Check your water heater temperature. A setting higher than 120 degrees F. increases the risk of burns and uses more energy than necessary. You can also add insulation to the hot water lines so that water stays warm in between uses.
An older furnace built before 1992 with a standing pilot light wastes about 35% of the fuel it consumes and is likely at the end of its life. Consider replacing it with a newer, more energy-eﬃcient model.