Energy Savings & Tips

Window's

Windows can be one of your home's most attractive features. Windows provide views, daylighting, ventilation, and solar heating in the winter. Unfortunately, they can also account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill. During the summer, your air conditioner must work harder to cool hot air from sunny windows. Install ENERGY STAR windows and use curtains and shade to give your air conditioner and energy bill a break. If you live in the Sun Belt, look into low-e windows, which can cut the cooling load by 10% to 15%.

Cold-Climate Window Tips

  • Install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on your windows that are feeling drafty after weatherizing.
  • Close your curtains and shades at night; open them during the day.
  • Keep windows on the south side of your house clean to let in the winter sun.
  • Repair and weatherize your current storm windows, if necessary.

Warm-Climate Window Tips

  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
  • Close curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day.
  • Install awnings on south- and west-facing windows.
  • Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows to reduce solar gain.

Heating & Cooling

Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 43% of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling. What's more, heating and cooling systems in the United States together emit 150 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global climate change. They also generate about 12% of the nation's sulfur dioxide and 4% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain.

No matter what kind of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling, and reduce environmental emissions, from 20% to 50%.

Heating & Cooling Tips

  • Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer.
  • Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
  • Bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional.
  • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
  • During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.

Insulation

Checking your home's insulation is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to use a whole-house approach to reduce energy waste and make the most of your energy dollars. A good insulating system includes a combination of products and construction techniques that protect a home from outside hot or cold temperatures, protect it against air leaks, and control moisture. You can increase the comfort of your home while reducing your heating and cooling needs by investing in proper insulation and sealing air leaks.

Should I Insulate my Home?

  • You have an older home and haven't added insulation. Only 20% of homes built before 1980 are well insulated.
  • You are uncomfortably cold in the winter or hot in the summer—adding insulation creates a more uniform temperature and increases comfort.
  • You build a new home, addition, or install new siding or roofing.
  • You pay high energy bills.
  • You are bothered by noise from outside—insulation muffles sound.
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