Quick Fixes

October 12, 2017

Home Energy Checklists

 

 

Today

☐ Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120-degrees Fahrenheit). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands. 

☐ Start using energy-saving settings on refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers.

☐ Survey your incandescent lights for opportunities to replace them with compact fluorescents or LEDs. These new lamps can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents. The best targets are 60-100W bulbs used several hours a day. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LEDs will fit in most standard fixtures. 

☐ Check the age and condition of your major appliances, especially the refrigerator. You may want to replace it with a more energy-efficient model before it dies. 

☐ Clean or replace furnace, air-conditioner, and heat-pump filters.

☐ If you have one of those "silent-guzzlers", a waterbed, make your bed today. The covers will insulate it, and save up to one-third of the energy it uses. 

 

This Week

☐ Visit the hardware store. Buy a water-heater blanket, low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and compact fluorescents CFLs or LEDs, as needed. CFLs and LEDs are now sold at most drug stores and grocery stores. 

 

☐ If your water heater is old enough that its insulation is fiberglass instead of foam, it clearly will benefit from a water heater blanket form the local hardware store or home supplies store. 

☐ Rope caulk very leaky windows.

☐ Assess 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.

☐ Purchase a power use monitor to learn how you use energy in your home and identify opportunities for saving.

 

This Month

☐ Collect your utility bills. Separate electricity and fuel bills. Target the biggest bill for energy conservation remedies.

☐ Crawl into your attic or crawlspace and inspect for insulation. Is there any? How much?

 

☐ Insulate hot water pipes and ducts whenever they run through unheated areas. 

☐ Seal up the largest air leaks in your house—the ones that whistle on windy days, or feel drafty. The worst culprits are usually not windows and doors, but utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets, Better yet, hire an energy auditor with a blower door to point put where the worst cracks are. All the time, invisible cracks and holes may add up to as much as an open window or door, without your ever knowing!

☐ At night and whenever you leave your home, adjust your thermostat to save heating energy in the winter and cooling energy in the summer. Some people find it easier to install a programmable thermostat.

☐ Schedule a home energy assessment (ask your utility company or state energy office) for more expert advice on your home as a whole. 

 

This year

☐ Insulate. If your walls aren't insulated, have an insulation contractor blow cellulose into the walls. Bring your attic insulation level up to snuff.

☐ Replace aging, inefficient appliances. Even if the appliance has a few useful years left, replacing it with a top-efficiency model is generally a good investment. 

☐ Upgrade leaky windows. It may be time to replace them with energy-efficient models or to boost their efficiency with weather-stripping and storm windows.

☐ Reduce your air conditioning costs by planting shade trees and shrubs around your house — especially on the west side.

☐ Know that you are making a difference!

 

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