Test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, light an incense stick and hold it carefully next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, etc. The smoke stream will alert you to any air leaks.
Caulk and weather strip any doors and windows that leak air.
Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, wiring or ductwork has penetrated exterior walls, floors and ceilings.
Install storm windows or replace single-pane windows with double-pane windows.
When the fireplace is not in use, keep the flue damper tightly closed.
Install rubber gaskets behind the outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
Increasing your lighting efficiency will decrease your energy bills. Here are some tips to help you save both indoors and outdoors:
Use linear fluorescent and energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps.
Turn off any lights you are not using.
Three-way lamps make it easier to use less light when bright light isn’t necessary.
Use light-colored draperies on your windows to allow more light into your home.
Use outdoor lights with a photocell unit so they will turn off during the day.
Low voltage pathway lighting will give off a good quantity of light outdoors.
Insulate your water heater.
Lower the thermostat setting to 115° – 120°.
Repair leaky faucets.
Take a shower instead of a bath. Bathing uses more hot water than showers. A bath will consume 15 to 25 gallons of hot water, but a shower will use less than 10 gallons.
Use low-flow nonaerating shower heads and faucets. They can reduce your hot water usage by up to 50 percent.
If you plan to be away from home for more than two days, turn off your water heater at the circuit breaker.
If your unit is an older model, consider buying a new more-efficient water heater.
Check the manufacturer’s recommendations on water temperature. Many have an internal water heater that will allow a lower temperature setting.
Don’t rinse your dishes, but do scrape off large food particles.
Use your dishwasher only when it’s full, but don’t overload it.
Turn off the “rinse hold” as it uses three to seven gallons of hot water each time it is used.
Let your dishes air dry. If you don’t have a switch to control this, turn off the control knob after the final rinse and open the door a fraction to allow the dishes to dry faster.
Dishwashers use less water, about six gallons less, than washing dishes by hand.
Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.
Wash and dry full loads only.
Clean the dryer’s lint filter after every load to improve air circulation.
Use the cool down cycle on your dryer to allow clothing to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
Inspect your dryer vent to ensure that it is not blocked. This will save energy and can prevent a fire.
Always leave the faucet lever on the kitchen sink in the cold position when using small amounts of water. Leaving the lever in the hot position uses energy to heat the water even though it never reaches the faucet.
Keep the burners and reflectors on your range-top clean and they will reflect the heat better.
A covered pan boils water faster than an uncovered pan.
Turn the burner on your electric stove off several minutes before the allotted cooking time. The element will stay hot long enough to finish the cooking.
For small meals use a small electric pan or toaster oven instead of the stove or oven. A toaster oven uses a third to half as much energy as a full-sized oven.
A pressure cooker or microwave oven saves energy by greatly reducing cooking time.