DEEP: Energy Efficiency Tips

Energy Efficiency Tips
We encourage you to use energy wisely year-round.  Here are just a few energy-efficiency tips:
  1. Lower your home's thermostat in winter to 68 degrees and raise it in summer to 78 degrees.  Or install a programmable thermostat to make the adjustment for you automatically.  You could save 10 to 15 percent on you heating and cooling costs.
  2. Turn off lights, appliances, TVs, stereos, computers, etc. when not in use and use power strips.
  3. Unplug your electric space heater or hot tub.
  4. Unplug and recycle your old second refrigerator.
  5. Wash clothes in cold water.
  6. Repair leaky faucets.
  7. Use power strips to unplug chargers, laptops, appliances with remote control or `instant on'.
  8. Always buy ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics
Insulation and Weatherization
  • Reduce air leakage/air infiltration - install insulation throughout your home Check your attic, ceilings, exterior and basement walls, floors and crawl spaces for recommended levels (R-values) of insulation.
  • Weather-strip and caulk around cracks or holes around doors and windows.
  • Install storm doors.
  • Replace broken windows glass, worn weather stripping and improperly fitting doors.
  • Close closet doors and doors to rooms not often used.
  • See DEEP's Weatherization page for more details.
Heating and Cooling
  • Install a high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC).  They can use up to 40% less energy than standard systems.
  • Service your heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems regularly making adjustments as necessary.
  • A programmable thermostat can optimize HVAC operation 24/7 based on your needs.  For example, instead of heating or cooling all night, these "smart" thermostats can be set to turn on the HVAC one hour before you wake up.
  • Clean or replace filters on furnaces and air conditioners once a month or as needed.
  • Vacuum the dust from radiators, heat and air-conditioning vents, dust reduces efficiency.
  • Insulate your ducts and check for air leaks.
  • Don't block radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use to prevent heat loss.
  • Install airtight fireplace doors.
  • Cover window style air conditioners to keep cold air from leaking into your home.
Water Heating
  • If you have an off-peak electric hot water heater, set your bottom thermostat to 135 F and the top thermostat to 125 F for maximum efficiency.
  • Insulate at least ten feet of hot and cold water pipes attached to your hot water heater.
  • Repair leaky faucets promptly as they waste gallons of water within a short period.
  • Replace old water heaters with new energy efficiency units.
  • Lower the thermostat/water temperature on your water heater to 1.
  • Install non-aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  • Fill the sink half-way instead of letting the water run while shaving or washing.
  • Don't just let the water run when using the sink or faucet and turn it off between tasks such as brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Close curtains at night to cut down on heat loss.
  • Install storm windows over single-pane windows or consider replacing them with double-pane windows.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
  • Install awnings on south and west facing windows.
  • Install white window shades, drapes or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
  • If buying new, look for ENERGY STAR qualified models.
  • Turn off appliances and any equipment when not in use.
  • Run your dishwasher only when full.
  • Perform regular maintenance/cleaning on appliances and equipment.
  • Use power strips as a central "turn off" point when you are finished using equipment to eliminate standby power consumption used by many electronics after being turned off.
  • Configure your computer to go into low-power (or "sleep") mode when not in use and turn it off when it won't be in use for extended periods of time.
  • Turn off lights when not needed.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) or Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs). LEDs use up to 80% less energy and last 15-40 years/  CFLs are also long lasting and use as little as 25% of the energy of a regular bulb.
  • Take advantage of natural light whenever possible.  Keep windows clean and unobstructed.
  • Put lamps in the corners of rooms so that light reflects off two walls.  Use light colors on walls, ceilings and floors to reflect more light. 
  • Install dimmers, timers and motion sensors where possible.  Dimmer switches can increase bulb life up to 20x if dimmed to half the brightness. Motion sensors give you light only when you need it.  Timers can be used for security lighting when you're on vacation which is more efficient than leaving them on continuously.
Content Updated September 23, 2015