Low-Cost Ways to Save Money & Energy
- Caulk is cheap.
On windy days, feel around windows, doors, and exterior walls near the floor, electrical outlets or plumbing penetrations. Seal up your windows and doors with caulking and weatherstripping to ensure that you're not wasting energy on heat that escapes through leaks to the outdoors. Caulk works best on small gaps. Your hardware store should have products to close the larger gaps. Use low expansion foam product to seal larger openings.
- Check the yellow energy label on your water heater.
If your water heater is on the low end of the efficiency rating, then it is still possible to reduce fuel cost effectively by adding an insulation blanket. Insulation blankets are available at most home improvement stores and are relatively inexpensive energy efficiency solutions. (However, if the water heater is on the high end of the efficiency range, then additional insulation will probably not be of much benefit.)
- Insulate your pipes.
Add pre-cut pipe insulation to exposed pipes going into your water heater – it is cheap and easy to install. If you’re starting with an un-insulated tank, the energy savings should pay for the improvements in just a few months. Seal your duct work.
- Seal your duct work.
While duct tape works well on lots of things it often fails when used on ductwork! Use duct mastic (a gooey substance applied with a paintbrush) to seal all exposed ductwork joints in areas such as the attic, crawlspace, or basement. Insulate ducts in unconditioned areas to improve your heating system’s efficiency and your own comfort. Metal duct tape is another option, but be sure to clean dust from areas to be sealed.
- Go low flow.
Install low-flow showerheads and sink aerators to reduce hot water use.
- Repair leaky faucets promptly.
Repair leaky faucets promptly and save both water, money, and energy.
- Use plastic window kits to insulate your windows.
In the winter, storm windows can reduce your heat loss by 25% – 50%. As an alternative, you can improve your windows temporarily with plastic sheeting installed on the inside.
- Install an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat.
Programmable thermostats automatically set back the temperature when you are asleep or away from home. And, consider ENERGY STAR labeled products when you are replacing old appliances or purchasing new ones. Products in more than 40 categories are eligible for the ENERGY STAR. They use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment. Ask for the ENERGY STAR.
- Change a Light.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with comparable compact fluorescent lamps.