Heat Smartly With ENERGY STAR
U.S. homeowners are looking for ways to cool their homes this summer while reducing their energy bills to save money. The average family spends more than $2,100 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. In addition to saving money, reducing energy use at home can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help protect the climate.
ENERGY STAR offers the following tips to keep your home comfortable while saving money on cooling bills and protecting the environment:
- Maintain cooling equipment. Dirt and neglect are the number one causes of heating system failure, so be sure to maintain your equipment. Now is a good time to schedule a pre-season checkup of your heating equipment with a licensed contractor to make sure your system is operating at peak performance. Check your system's air filter every month. When it is dirty, change it. At a minimum change it every 3 months.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Regulate your home's temperature while you're away or asleep by using one of the convenient pre-programmed settings on a programmable thermostat. When used properly, programmable thermostats can save you up to $180 every year in energy costs.
- Seal air leaks in your home. As much as 20 percent of the air moving through your home's duct system is lost due to leaks and poor connections. Sealing air leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a significant impact on improving your comfort and reducing energy bills. If you are adding insulation to your home, be sure to seal air leaks first, to ensure you get the best performance from your insulation. Seal duct work using mastic sealant or metal tape and insulate all the ducts that you can access (such as those in attics, crawlspaces, unfinished basements, and garages). Also, make sure that connections at vents and registers are well-sealed where they meet floors, walls, and ceilings. These are common locations to find leaks and disconnected ductwork.
- Look for ENERGY STAR Certified products. Whether you are replacing light bulbs or appliances in your home, ENERGY STAR Certified products can help you save energy and reduce energy bills. The label can be found on more than 65 types of products ranging from heating and cooling equipment to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Also, look to EPA's ENERGY STAR program for advice on other ways you can save at home such as using power strips as a central 'turn-off' point for electronics and office equipment, making sure computers and monitors are "powered down" when not in use and reversing the blade rotation on ceiling fans to help spread warm air around a room.
Learn other ways to save by assessing your home. Start with the Home Energy Yardstick to see how your home‘s energy use measures up compared to similar homes across the country. Then, use our Home Energy Advisor to get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements for typical homes in your area.
Watch "At Home with ENERGY STAR" as a home improvement expert takes you through a real home to learn energy-saving tips.
Take a room-by-room tour of ENERGY STAR @ home and learn what you can do this winter to save energy, save money and help protect our environment in your own home.