Home Energy Saving Tips

Make your home more comfortable and cut down on high energy costs by following these home energy saving tips. By simply making a few changes to your house and daily routine, you can significantly improve your quality of life while saving money. It really doesn't get any better than that!

Exterior

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The door leading from the outside or garage into the house is a common area for air leakage. By installing a door sweep to seal the gap here, you can prevent conditioned inside air from escaping while blocking outside air from getting in. This helps keep the indoor living space comfortable and energy bills low.

Car

  • Leave your car at home and use public transit, walk or bike whenever possible.
  • Combine as many trips as possible to cut down on car usage.
  • Leaving your car at home just 2 days a week will save 1,590 lbs. in greenhouse gas emissions a year!
  • Maximize your car's fuel efficiency, safety and reliability by keeping it well maintained.
  • Check your tire pressure regularly to avoid wear and tear, and decrease gas mileage.

A/C Unit

When investing in new heating and cooling equipment like a central air conditioning unit, proper sizing and installation is key to maintaining your home's energy efficiency and comfort.

  • Bigger isn't always better; oversized equipment can lead to reduced comfort and excessive noise.
  • Oversizing can also shorten equipment life by causing it to turn on and off more frequently than properly sized units.
  • Undersized units can suffer from reduced efficiency and accelerated wear on system components, resulting in early equipment failure.

Pledge to have your cooling equipment tuned by a professional.

Porch Light

The outdoor porch light or post lamp, is one of the most used light fixtures and therefore the perfect place to install ENERGY STAR certified lighting products.

  • Replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that fit into existing porch lights.
  • Install a new ENERGY STAR certified outdoor lighting fixture, which uses advanced CFL technology and a motion sensor or photocell, to only turn on at night or when it detects movement.

Pledge to replace light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified lighting products.

Garage

  • If the garage is attached to the house, it can be a significant source of energy loss and should be well sealed.

Thermal Boundary

A home's exterior (outer walls, ceiling, windows and floor) is known as the "envelope" or "shell" which, when properly insulated by a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled professional, can save you more than $200 a year or up to 10% on total annual energy bills.

  • Hire a contractor who'll use specialized diagnostic tools to identify and seal hidden air leaks before adding insulation.

Pledge to improve your home's envelope with caulk, spray foam, weather stripping or by adding insulation.

Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR!

Take the pledge to save energy at home! Join with millions of Americans to take small, individual steps that make a big difference in the fight against climate change.

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Attic

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Some of the biggest air leaks in your home can often be traced to the attic, resulting in sky-high energy bills and a house that's too warm in summer, and too cold in winter. However, the good news is that the attic is one of the easier rooms to insulate and air seal, leading to improved home comfort, lower energy bills and a better overall energy performance.

Chimney

  • Seal holes or gaps around chimneys or furnace flues to prevent air leaks.
  • Use metal flashing for larger gaps and high temperature caulk for smaller ones.
  • Identify and seal all air leaks before adding additional insulation.

Plumbing Stack

  • Seal small gaps around plumbing stacks and electrical wiring.
  • Use caulk for small gaps and spray foam for gaps up to 3 inches in diameter.
  • Use a combination of foam board and foam spray for gaps larger than 3 inches in diameter.

Attic Hatch or Door

  • Use weatherizing materials or a pre-made attic cover to insulate your attic hatch or door.
  • Save energy and keep your home comfortable.
  • Learn more:
    • A home's exterior is known as the "envelope" or "shell" which, when properly insulated, can save up to 10% on annual energy bills.
    • Or hire a contractor who'll use specialized diagnostic tools to identify and seal hidden air leaks before adding insulation.
    • TIP: if your insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you'll need to add more.
    • Recommended insulation level for most attics is 12-15 inches, depending on insulation type (R-38).

Ducts

  • Seal any holes or tears using mastic or metal (foil) tape.
  • Don't use "duct tape" because it doesn't last.
  • Seal all accessible ducts in the house, including the basement, garage or crawlspace.
  • Learn More:
    • Ducts distribute conditioned air through houses using forced air heating and cooling systems.
    • Up to 20% of air is lost due to leakage, holes and poorly connected ducts.
    • Result: an inefficient HVAC system, high utility bills and uncomfortable room temperatures.

Attic Ventilation

  • Proper attic ventilation using natural airflow prevents build-up of ice dams and extends the life of roof shingles.
  • Eliminates need for attic vent fan, thereby reducing energy costs.
  • Make sure attic soffit and gable vents aren't blocked to ensure free airflow.
  • If you don't have gable vents, you may have ridge vents or vents through the roof deck.

Bedroom

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By making a few small changes to both your bedroom and routine, you can not only save energy but also reduce your utility bills, resulting in a more comfortable and energy efficient environment.

Outlet

  • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use.
  • Use inexpensive outlet gaskets to seal any holes around outlets.

Light Switches

  • Always turn off the lights when leaving the bedroom (or when it's not in use).

TV/DVD

  • Invest in electronics that are ENERGY STAR certified.
  • ENERGY STAR certified products use less energy without sacrificing quality or performance.
  • Learn more:
    • Consumer electronics account for 15% of household electricity usage.
    • Many electronic products continue to use energy even when switched off.
    • ENERGY STAR certified products conserve energy when switched off while still maintaining clock displays, channel settings and remote control functions.

Bedside Lamps

  • Replace light bulbs and fixtures with ENERGY STAR certified products.
  • Learn more:
    • Save up to $70 in annual energy costs by replacing your 5 most frequently used light bulbs or fixtures with ENERGY STAR certified ones.
    • ENERGY STAR certified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) provide a high quality light, use less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.
    • Choose from a wide range of attractive and stylish ENERGY STAR certified lamps and light fixtures.

Pledge to replace your current light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified ones.

Air Conditioner

  • ENERGY STAR certified air conditioners often include timers, allowing for better temperature control.
  • Conserve energy and save costs with an ENERGY STAR certified air conditioner, which uses a minimum amount of energy to cool your bedroom.
  • Learn more:
    • Make sure window-fitted A/C units fit snugly in the window frame, to prevent outside air from getting in.
    • Large window A/C units should be equipped with their own separate electrical circuits to avoid system overloads.
    • WINTER TIP: insulate A/C unit with a tight fitting unit cover (available from local hardware stores) that prevents heated air from escaping outside.
    • WINTER TIP: remove window A/C unit during winter months to prevent energy loss.
    • Ensure the A/C unit is the right size for the bedroom.

View our purchasing tips.

Window

  • Caulk and weather-strip areas around doors and windows to prevent air leakage.
  • Replace window screens with storm windows during winter as an extra barrier against cold air.
  • Learn more:
    • ENERGY STAR certified windows can save you anywhere from $150-$500 annually in energy costs.
    • Cut drafts, increase home comfort and help preserve interior furnishings with properly installed ENERGY STAR certified windows.

Pledge to apply caulk and weather-stripping around windows and doors that leak air.

Air Register

  • Ensure vent connections and registers are well sealed at floors, walls and ceilings, which are all common areas for disconnected ducts and leakage.
  • Make sure all vents are clear of furniture and rugs in order to improve airflow and comfort.
  • Install heat resistant reflectors between radiators and walls to reflect heat back into the room instead of onto walls.

Fireplace

  • Close the flue damper when not in use to prevent air escaping from the house.
  • Learn more:
    • A chimney, by design, removes by-products from a fire by creating a draft, which also pulls away air (warm or cool) from your home.
    • As long as there's a temperature difference between indoors and out, there will be a chimney draft even if there's no fire in the fireplace.
    • By keeping the damper closed, air-conditioned or warmed air remains in the living space where it belongs.
    • Use a direct vent or sealed combustion gas log unit.

Ceiling Fan With Lighting

  • Depending on how they're used, ceiling fans can help reduce energy costs while providing home comfort.
  • Learn more:
    • WINTER TIP: most ceiling fans have a switch allowing you to rotate the blades in reverse, creating a gentle updraft forcing warm air near the ceiling down into the living area.
    • In the summer, make sure your ceiling fan is blowing air downwards into the living area.
    • On hot days, turn up the thermostat by two degrees and use your ceiling fan to lower air conditioning costs by up to 14%.
    • Use low wattage compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in the ceiling light fixture for cooler light bulbs and greater energy savings.
    • Turn off the ceiling fan when you leave the room; fans only cool people, not rooms.

Pledge to replace your current light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified ones.

Bathroom

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It doesn't take much effort to turn your bathroom into an energy efficient zone. By taking the necessary steps, you could not only lower your energy costs but also improve your health as well!

Sink Faucet

  • Leaky faucets can result in gallons of water wasted, so take quick action to repair any in your bathroom.
  • Learn more:
    • Hot water leaking at 1 drip per second adds up to 1,661 gallons of water wasted in a year.
    • 1,661 gallons of water works out to approximately $35 in squandered energy costs.

Light Switch

  • Always turn off the lights when leaving the bathroom (or when it's not in use).

Vanity Lights

  • Save up to $70 in annual energy costs by replacing your 5 most frequently used light bulbs or fixtures with ENERGY STAR certified ones.
  • Learn more:
    • The bathroom vanity is one of the highest used fixtures in the average home.
    • Replace standard lighting with ENERGY STAR certified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which generate less heat.
    • As high humidity can shorten the lifespan of CFLs, control bathroom moisture by running your ventilation fan during and 15 minutes after showers and baths.
    • Find a wide assortment of ENERGY STAR certified lighting options in hardware stores, lighting showrooms, retail outlets and online stores.

Pledge to replace your current light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified ones.

Window

  • Caulk and weather-strip areas around doors and windows to prevent air leakage.
  • Replace window screens with storm windows during winter as an extra barrier against cold air.
  • Learn more:
    • ENERGY STAR certified windows can save you anywhere from $150-$500 annually in energy costs.
    • Cut drafts, increase home comfort and help preserve interior furnishings with properly installed ENERGY STAR certified windows.

Pledge to replace your current light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified ones.

Shower

  • Save water by going for a 10-minute shower instead of a bath.
  • Learn more:
    • A 10-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead (2.5 gallons-per-minute) will use 25 gallons of water - 5 gallons less than a typical bath.
    • New low-flow showerheads are more cost efficient than older models or baths, and can save you up to $145 a year in electricity costs.

Vent Fan

  • Install a properly sized ENERGY STAR certified ventilation fan to control moisture, mold and mildew growth.
  • Run the ventilation fan during your bath and shower, and for 15 minutes afterwards.
  • Learn more:
    • On average, ENERGY STAR certified ventilation fans use 60% less energy than standard models.
    • Save more than $60 in electricity costs over the life of a fan by replacing it with an ENERGY STAR certified one.
    • By using high performance motors and improved blade design, ENERGY STAR certified fans are quieter, perform better and are longer lasting than standard models.
    • Look for ENERGY STAR certified models at home improvement and hardware stores, or ask for them from your HVAC or electrical contractor.
    • Prevent moisture problems by ensuring the fan duct leads outside.

Office

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More and more people are working from home offices now. While this may save time and money on commuting, it can lead to increases in home energy costs.

Multi-Function or All-In-One Devices

  • Multi-function or All-in-One devices combine multiple functions such as print, copy, fax and scan, to save both space and energy.
  • Look for devices that are ENERGY STAR certified.
  • Enable power management features for additional savings.
  • Turn power off when not in use.

Pledge to purchase ENERGY STAR certified home office equipment.

Power Adapters

  • Unplug power adapters and battery chargers when equipment is fully charged or disconnected from them.

Power Strip

  • Use a power strip to control power to all your electrical equipment.
  • Learn more:
    • Even while turned off, electronic and IT equipment continue to use a small amount of electricity.
    • U.S. households spend approximately $100 a year powering devices set on standby modes, accounting for nearly 8% of the total household electricity costs.
    • Using a power strip for all your electrical devices saves on electricity costs by eliminating standby power consumption.

Computer/Monitor

  • Look for ENERGY STAR certified home office equipment, as they use less energy without sacrificing performance.
  • Enable power management features on your computer and monitor.
  • Learn more:
    • Since most home office equipment is on 24 hours a day, set them to automatically switch to sleep mode in order to conserve energy.
    • By automatically switching to sleep mode, electronic equipment will run cooler, last longer and help you save on air conditioning costs as well.
    • Reduce costs by turning off your computer monitor when not in use or switching it to sleep mode, instead of using a screensaver.
    • Turn off fax machines, printers, scanners, etc., when not in use.
    • Watch the ENERGY STAR in Your Office video to learn how ENERGY STAR certified office equipment could save you energy and money, while helping to protect the environment.

Desk Lamp

  • Use ENERGY STAR certified fixtures and light bulbs.
  • Turn off all lights when leaving the room.
  • Learn more:
    • Home office lights are often used for many hours a day, so switch to ENERGY STAR certified desk lamps or compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to conserve energy.
    • CFLs provide high quality light, use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.
    • ENERGY STAR certified lighting options could help reduce your energy bills and replacement costs.

Pledge to replace your current light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified ones.

Air Register

  • Ensure vent connections and registers are well sealed at floors, walls and ceilings, which are all common areas for disconnected ducts and leakage.
  • Make sure all vents are clear of furniture and rugs, in order to improve airflow and comfort.
  • Install heat resistant reflectors between radiators and walls to reflect heat back into the room instead of onto walls.

Outlet

  • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use.
  • Use inexpensive outlet gaskets to seal any holes around outlets.

Kitchen

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There are a variety of ways to improve the energy efficiency of your kitchen, starting with the way you use your appliances to home sealing and replacing your light fixtures.

Floor Vents/Radiators

  • Ensure vent connections and registers are well sealed at floors, walls and ceilings, which are all common areas for disconnected ducts and leakage.
  • Make sure all floor vents and air registers are clear of furniture, allowing air to flow freely.
  • Install heat resistant reflectors between radiators and walls to reflect heat back into the room instead of onto walls.

Range

  • Use the right sized pots with stove burners; for example, a 6" pot on an 8" burner wastes over 40% of the heat generated.
  • Cover pots and pans when cooking to keep heat in.
  • Learn more:
    • Save up to $36 annually on electric ranges or $18 on gas by simply using the right sized pots on burners.
    • Cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler by covering pots and pans.
    • Keep gas range burners clean to ensure maximum efficiency.

Range Hood

  • Install ENERGY STAR certified range hoods to control moisture and remove cooking odors.
  • Learn more:
    • On average, ENERGY STAR certified ventilation fans use 60% less energy than standard models.
    • Save more than $60 in electricity costs over the life of a fan by replacing it with an ENERGY STAR certified one.
    • By using high performance motors and improved blade design, ENERGY STAR certified fans are quieter, perform better and are longer lasting than standard models.
    • Look for ENERGY STAR certified range hoods at home improvement and hardware stores, or ask for them from your HVAC or electrical contractor.

Microwave

  • Use your microwave to reheat or cook small portions.
  • Learn more:
    • Reduce cooking energy by up to 80% by using the microwave for small portions.
    • Using the microwave can help save on A/C costs in summer as it generates less heat than a conventional oven or stove.

Cordless Phones

  • Save energy by using ENERGY STAR certified cordless phones that feature switch-mode power supplies and "smart" chargers.

Dishwashers

  • Save water by scraping instead of rinsing dishes before loading the dishwasher.
  • Run your dishwasher with a full load.
  • If available, use the air-dry option.
  • Learn more:
    • Rinsing dirty dishes is a waste of water and energy; most dishwashers today are able to thoroughly clean scraped dishes.
    • To use your dishwasher efficiently, run it only when you have enough dirty dishes for a full load.
    • Appliances account for about 12% of your energy bill, so replace outdated models with newer, more energy efficient ENERGY STAR certified versions.

Pledge to buy an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher.

Light Fixtures

  • Install ENERGY STAR certified light fixtures and replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which generate less heat.
  • Learn more:
    • Kitchen light fixtures are among the most used in the home.
    • ENERGY STAR certified lighting fixtures are available in many popular styles, such as cabinet and ceiling mounted versions, as well as recessed can models.
    • ENERGY STAR certified light fixtures use 75% less energy, generate 75% less heat and last up to 10 times longer than standard lighting, while producing bright, warm light.

Pledge to replace standard light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified lighting products.

Windows

  • Caulk and weather-strip areas around doors and windows to prevent air leakage.
  • Replace window screens with storm windows during winter as an extra barrier against cold air.
  • Learn more:
    • ENERGY STAR certified windows can save you anywhere from $150-$500 annually in energy costs.
    • Cut drafts, increase home comfort and help preserve interior furnishings with properly installed ENERGY STAR certified windows.

Pledge to apply caulk and weather-stripping around windows and doors that leak air.

Kitchen Sink

  • Leaky faucets can result in gallons of water wasted, so take quick action to make any necessary repairs.
  • Learn more:
    • Hot water leaking at 1 drip per second adds up to 1,661 gallons of water wasted in a year.
    • 1,661 gallons of water works out to approximately $35 in squandered energy costs.

Refrigerator

  • Look for ENERGY STAR certified models when purchasing a new refrigerator.
  • Lower energy consumption by cleaning out your fridge regularly to ensure proper air circulation.
  • Don't open the fridge door unnecessarily; every time you do, the temperature drops by 2-5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • For every 30 seconds the door remains open, it can take up to 30 minutes to restore the fridge to its original temperature.
  • Learn more:
    • A new ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator can run continuously on less energy than a 60-watt light bulb.
    • ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators use at least 20% less energy than required by current federal standards.
    • Refrigerators manufactured before 1993 use twice as much energy than newer models.
    • By recycling or disposing of your old fridge, you can save anywhere from $300-$700 and prevent 5,500 to 20,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

Light Switch

  • Always turn off the lights when leaving any room (or when it's not in use).

Outlet

  • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use.
  • Use inexpensive outlet gaskets to seal any holes around outlets.

Dining Room

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Improve the quality of your home life and save on your utility bills by making your dining room more energy efficient.

Floor Vents/Radiators

  • Ensure vent connections and registers are well sealed at floors, walls and ceilings, which are all common areas for disconnected ducts and leakage.
  • Make sure all vents are clear of furniture and rugs, in order to improve airflow and comfort.
  • Install heat resistant reflectors between radiators and walls to reflect heat back into the room instead of onto walls.

Sliding Door

  • Apply caulking around doorframes and weather-stripping around doors that don't close tightly.
  • Protect interior furnishings, cut energy costs and improve comfort by replacing standard sliding doors with ENERGY STAR certified ones.
  • Learn more:
    • Lower your energy bill and experience increased comfort by improving your home's "envelope".
    • A home sealing will reduce drafts and eliminate moisture problems caused by holes, cracks and gaps.

Pledge to apply caulk and weather stripping around doors.

Light Fixture

  • Replace standard light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that provide a high quality light, use less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.
  • Learn more:
    • Replace high energy consuming conventional chandeliers with energy efficient versions.
    • ENERGY STAR certified lighting options are available at most home centers, lighting showrooms and specialty stores.
    • ENERGY STAR certified light fixtures use 75% less energy, generate 75% less heat and last up to 10 times longer than standard lighting, while producing bright, warm light.

Pledge to replace standard light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified lighting products.

Programmable Thermostat

  • A programmable thermostat will regulate your home's temperature settings to adjust for when you're away or sleeping.
  • Learn more:
    • A programmable thermostat with 4-temperature settings can save up to $180 a year in energy costs.
    • Learn about cost-saving measures that maximize your energy savings with these Guidelines for Proper Use of Programmable Thermostats.
    • Save money with a manual thermostat by turning it up during hot weather and lowering it during cold weather.
    • COMMON MISCONCEPTION: it's more energy efficient to keep a house cool all the time, rather than heating or cooling it according to need.
    • Only heat or cool a house according to time of day and number of occupants.
    • Total energy savings depend upon climate, usage patterns, and the efficiency of the home's heating and cooling system.
    • A programmable thermostat eliminates the need to manually adjust the temperature when leaving the house or going to bed, making it more comfortable and energy efficient.

Pledge to use your programmable thermostat to adjust your home's temperature while you're away or asleep.

Light Switch

  • Always turn off the lights when leaving the dining room (or when it's not in use).

Outlet

  • A gasket is an effective and inexpensive way of sealing any holes and cracks around outlets.
  • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use.

Living Room

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The living room is where the family all gather, to spend quality time and engage in social activities. A few simple steps can also transform it into one of the more energy efficient rooms in your house.

Light Switch

  • Always turn off the lights when leaving any room (or when it's not in use).

Outlet

  • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use.
  • Use inexpensive outlet gaskets to seal any holes around outlets.

Windows

  • Caulk and weather-strip areas around doors and windows to prevent air leakage.
  • Replace window screens with storm windows during winter as an extra barrier against cold air.
  • Learn more:
    • ENERGY STAR certified windows can save you anywhere from $150-$500 annually in energy costs.
    • Cut drafts, increase home comfort and help preserve interior furnishings with properly installed ENERGY STAR certified windows.

Pledge to apply caulk and weather-stripping around windows and doors that leak air.

Table Lamp

  • Replace standard light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that provide a high quality light, use less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs.
  • Learn more:
    • Table and floor lamps are two of the most used light fixtures in a home.
    • Conventional torchiere lamp wattage can be among the highest in the home.
    • Look for ENERGY STAR certified lighting options in hardware stores, lighting showrooms, retail outlets and online stores.

Pledge to replace your current light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified ones.

Drapes

  • WINTER TIP: keep drapes open during daylight to take advantage of the sun's heat.
  • During warm weather, draw the curtains and drapes to keep the room cooler.

Ceiling Fan with Lighting

  • Depending upon how they're used, ceiling fans can help reduce energy costs while providing home comfort.
  • Learn more:
    • WINTER TIP: most ceiling fans have a switch allowing you to rotate the blades in reverse, creating a gentle updraft forcing warm air near the ceiling down into the living area.
    • In the summer, make sure your ceiling fan is blowing air downwards into the living area.
    • On hot days, turn up the thermostat by two degrees and use your ceiling fan to lower air conditioning costs by up to 14%.
    • Use low wattage compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in the ceiling light fixture for cooler light bulbs and greater energy savings.
    • Turn off the ceiling fan when you leave the room; fans only cool people, not rooms.

Pledge to replace your current light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified ones.

TV/DVD

  • Invest in electronics that are ENERGY STAR certified.
  • ENERGY STAR certified products use less energy without sacrificing quality or performance.
  • Learn more:
    • Consumer electronics account for 15% of household electricity usage.
    • Many electronic products continue to use energy even when switched off.
    • ENERGY STAR certified products conserve energy when switched off while still maintaining clock displays, channel settings and remote control functions.

Basement

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From washing machines and dryers to heating and cooling equipment, the basement is one area where you can make significant changes to save energy and increase your contribution to protecting the environment.

  • Recycle your old refrigerator instead of giving it away; older models could cost more than $100 a year to run!
  • When considering an extra fridge or freezer, look for new energy efficient models.
  • Keep your fridge/freezer as full as possible and unplug it when not in use.

Find out how much your old refrigerator is costing you.

Pledge to recycle your old refrigerator.

Water Heater

  • Switch to an ENERGY STAR certified water heater or a tankless water heater, which only heats water as needed.
  • Tank less water heaters save the typical family more than $80 a year on gas bills, while larger families can save even more.
  • Learn more:
    • An ENERGY STAR certified gas storage water heater can generate a saving of $290 over the course of its 13-year lifetime and larger families can save even more.
    • Lowering your water heater temperature results in reduced standby losses (heat lost from the heater into surrounding area) and reduced consumption (from water demand or use in your home).
    • When set too high (140 degrees F), a water heater can waste anywhere from $36-$61 annually in standby heat loss and more than $400 in demand loss.
    • The ideal water heater temperature is 120 degrees F.
    • Save more than $30 annually in excess heat loss from older units by wrapping them in insulation jackets.
    • For additional savings, insulate hot water piping to prevent water from cooling before it gets to the tap.
    • Switch off electric and turn down gas water heaters before going on vacation.

Sealing

  • Seal gaps around vents, ducts, pipes and electrical wiring, to prevent drafts and increased energy costs.
  • Use caulk for small gaps and spray foam for gaps up to 3 inches in diameter.
  • Check the attic, any crawlspaces and unfinished basements.
  • Use a combination of foam board and foam spray for gaps larger than 3 inches in diameter.
  • Reduce drafts and save energy by sealing holes around pipes, wiring, vents or recessed lights with spray foam or caulk.
    • A home's exterior is known as the "envelope" or "shell" which, when properly insulated by a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor, can save you up to 10% (more than $200) on annual energy bills.
    • Proper insulation will help your heating and cooling system run more efficiently, and make your home more comfortable.

Pledge to insulate and seal your home's envelope.

HVAC System

  • Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure.
  • Change your system's air filter regularly and have routine maintenance performed by a qualified technician.
  • Consider replacing non-performing older HVAC systems with newer ENERGY STAR certified ones.
  • When replacing equipment, be sure to ask your contractor if they follow ENERGY STAR Quality Installation Guidelines.
  • Depending on your location, replacing outdated heating and cooling systems with ENERGY STAR certified models could reduce your annual energy bill by more than $200.
  • Learn more:
    • Your HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) system can use up to half of the total energy consumed in your home, so make the smart choice when considering your options.

Pledge to change the air filter on your central cooling system.

Rim Joist

  • The rim joist (or band joist) is located at the top of the basement wall, where cement meets the wood frame.
  • Significant air leakage can take place through the rim joist.
  • Seal accessible perimeter areas with expanding foam or caulk.
  • Seal any penetrations (i.e., pipes, wiring), which go through the basement ceiling to the above floor.
  • Learn more:
    • A home's exterior is known as the "envelope" or "shell" which, when properly insulated, can save up to 10% on annual energy bills.
    • Proper insulation makes your home more comfortable and helps your heating and cooling system run more efficiently.
    • Or hire a contractor who'll use specialized diagnostic tools to identify and seal hidden air leaks before adding insulation.

Pledge to seal your home's envelope with caulk or spray foam.

Clothes Dryer

  • Use your dryer's moisture sensor to automatically turn it off when clothes are dry to avoid over drying.
  • Always clean the lint trap before every load.
  • Dry full loads or reduce drying time for partial ones.
  • Learn more:
    • If your dryer doesn't have an energy-saving moisture sensor, try to match the cycle length to the size and weight of the load.
    • Running a dryer for an extra 15 minutes can cost you up to $34 every year.
    • Dry similar fabrics together in one load, so that all the clothes are dry at the end of the cycle.
    • Simply cleaning the lint trap before every load can save you up to $34 annually.
    • Dryers circulate heated air through wet clothes, evaporating and venting water vapor outside. If they are unable to generate enough heat, or can't efficiently move air through clothing, clothes will take longer to dry or won't dry at all.

Clothes Washer

  • Do your laundry with cold water whenever possible.
  • Wash full loads to save water, or when doing partial ones, reduce the level of water accordingly.
  • Learn more:
    • Heating hot water accounts for 90% of the energy used by your machine (only 10% is used by the motor).
    • Switching to cold water laundry can save the average household more than $40 annually (electric water heater) or $30 annually (gas water heater).
    • Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water every year.
    • If replacing a clothes washer, look for ENERGY STAR certified models that reduce energy use by 30%, water consumption by over 50% and have an improved spin cycle to reduce drying times.

Pledge to purchase an ENERGY STAR certified clothes washer.

Dehumidifier

  • Basements commonly have an excess of moisture or humidity in the air, which can be removed using a dehumidifier.
  • Ideally, you should have a humidity level between 30%-50% for a comfortable and healthy environment; anything more or less could lead to problems.
  • Learn more:
    • Signs that you might need a dehumidifier:
      • Musty smells
      • Mold or mildew problems
      • Rotting wood
      • Condensation on windows
      • Increased allergies (too much humidity leads to common allergens like mildew, mites and mold)
  • Ensure your dryer isn't venting inside your basement.
  • Check that ground next to the building foundation slopes away from the house.
  • Make sure downspouts lead at least 3 feet away from the building foundation.
  • When considering a dehumidifier, look for ENERGY STAR certified models that use less energy and can save you more than $220 in energy costs over the life of the unit.

Learn more about what to look for when buying a dehumidifier.

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