Family Life




Use This Home Energy Checklist to Cut Down Your Energy Bill

Use This Home Energy Checklist to Cut Down Your Energy Bill

Energy can be expensive, especially in certain locations and with large families. Reducing energy consumption is a great way to save yourself money each month. If you're looking to cut down your energy bill, check out our list of tips to help.

Home Energy Checklist

To Do Today

  1. Is your water heater turned down? A warm setting of 120°F will save energy and you won't scald your hands.
  2. Does your water heater have an insulating blanket? This will pay for itself in one year or less!
  3. Do you have a waterbed? If you do, make your bed. The covers will act as an insulator and save up to one-third of the energy it uses.
  4. Are you using the energy saving settings on your refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers? Start using these settings to save energy.
  5. Have you replaced your light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs)? If you haven't replaced your incandescent lights yet, do this. CFLs can save three-quarters the electricity used by incandescent light bulbs. If you use lights that are 60-100W for several hours a day, these are the best ones to replace.
  6. Do you have newer appliances? The age and condition of appliances affects their energy efficiency. Replacing them will save energy.
  7. Have you replaced filters lately? By cleaning or replacing furnace, air-conditioner, and heat-pump filters, you can save energy.
  8. Consider lowering the frequency at which you're using your air conditioner. This is especially true if you have a window air conditioner, as these take up a lot of energy. Consider investing in box or tower fans and blackout curtains to keep your home cooler for cheaper. Avoid excessive movement on warm days, and wear loose, lightly-colored clothing.

This Week

  1. Rope caulk very leaky windows.
  2. Have you assessed your heating and cooling systems? Determine if replacements are justified, or whether you should retrofit them to make them work more efficiently to provide the same comfort (or better) for less energy.
  3. Talk to your family about being more energy efficient. Pick a time when everyone is free, well-rested, and ready for a conversation. If you hold weekly family meetings, that is a great opportunity to bring up this issue. Ask your family members to consider taking shorter showers, avoid turning on unnecessary lights, and avoid leaving electronics on when they aren't in use. Remind them to turn off the lights when they leave a room, and to never open a window when the A/C is running.
  4. Think about all the items you use that take up electricity. Are there any that you can use less frequently, or not at all? Maybe you can cut your hair dryer use down to only in the winter, and dry your hair outside. Consider installing a clothesline in your yard to cut down on dryer use in the warmer months.

This Month

  1. Gather your utility bills. Which bill is larger? Target the larger bill for energy conservation remedies.
  2. Have you inspected your insulation? Crawl into your attic or crawlspace and inspect for insulation. Is there any? How much?
  3. Insulate hot water pipes and ducts wherever they run through unheated areas.
  4. Where are the leaks? Seal up the largest air leaks in your house- the ones that whistle on windy days, or feel drafty. The worst culprits are usually utility cut-through for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
  5. Do you have a clock thermostat? Install one to automatically set it back at night.

This Year

  1. Insulate. If your walls aren't insulated, have an insulation contractor blow cellulose into the walls. In addition, make sure your attic insulation is sufficient.
  2. Replace older, inefficient appliances. An appliance may have a few useful years left, but a new one will be more efficient.
  3. Replace windows or boost current window efficiency. Replace with energy efficient models or add weather-stripping and storm windows to current windows.
  4. Do a tune up on your heating and cooling systems in the fall and spring. Duct sealing can also boost the overall performance of your systems.
  5. Install ceiling fans. If your home doesn't have ceiling fans, or lacks them in certain high-traffic rooms, install them. Ceiling fans can help keep air moving on warm days, cutting down on your need for air conditioning. Make sure your current ceiling fans are operating at their ideal capacity.
  6. Cut out unnecessary projects that take up a lot of electricity. Watering your lawn can help it look nice, but it can also take up a lot of water and electricity. Projects that require extensive use of power tools also use up a lot of energy.
  7. Remove expensive decorations from your holiday set up. Blow-up decorations and decorations with lots of lights or moving parts look great, but they take up a lot of energy. Consider simpler decorations with fewer lights or moving parts. Ask yourself whether you need to decorate extensively for certain holidays, or whether you'd rather save the money and go big for just one holiday.
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