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21 Energy Saving Actions & Their Benefits

Incandescent light bulb is illuminated next to electricity pylons. (credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

Incandescent light bulb is illuminated next to electricity pylons. (credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

AIR

1. Install solar screens on your windows. This exterior shade will keep out 60% – 70% of the Texas sun and heat, keeping your home cool.

2. Seal your doors, windows and air ducts with weather stripping or caulk. Up to 30% of cooling/heating can be lost through holes and cracks throughout the home. This is easy project will save you up to $150 a year on your energy bills.

3. Add insulation to your attic. Depending on the type of insulation, this can be a do-it-yourself project that will lower your electricity bills by 1/3.

4. Clean or replace your air conditioner’s filter every month. Even during cooler temperatures, this will help your unit run more efficiently and prevent costly repairs when the weather warms up again. Not only will it improve air quality, it can save you up to 5% on your electric bill.

5. Install an attic fan. Helps prevent problems associated with excessive heat and moisture buildup while helping the heating and cooling units from working so hard.

6. Plant shady landscaping in front of windows. By planting a tree or some vegetation in front of your windows, you will shade your home in the heat and stifle freezing winds in the winter.

7. Buy energy savings thermal-backed curtains or drapes for your large windows. Drapes or curtains can reduce heat loss in the winter by up to 10%, and heat gain in the summer by up to 33%.

8. Block off your chimney flue. Since Texans do not use their fireplaces often, go ahead and plug and seal the chimney flue. This will prevent your warm and cool air from escaping from the house.

9. Install a programmable thermostat. This is an inexpensive way to control the electricity costs of your home. Programmable thermostats can save homeowners as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10% – 15% for eight hours.

10. Shade your outdoor AC unit with landscaping. Try planting a small tree or vine near the unit and watch its efficiency increase by as much as 10%.

CONSUMPTION

11. Unplug vampire electronics when not in use – like cell phone and iPod chargers, computers, DVD players and cable boxes. It costs $45 a year to run the television everyday for 10 hours. Imagine the savings when you unplug all those vampire electronics!

12. We all know about CFLs by now. If you’re not interested in replacing all of the bulbs in your home, try replacing only the bulbs in the lamps you use most often. CFLs need 66% – 75% less electricity than an incandescent bulb and last ten times as long. This can turn into quite a bit of savings on your electricity bill as lighting generally makes up about 10% of your home energy costs.

13. In non-summer months, use the pool pump 8 hours a day. Since most Texans don’t worry about their pools freezing over, the pool pump runs year round. Try only running it 8 hours a day to lower your energy bills.

14. Try to air-dry at least one out of every four loads of clothes. By air-drying 50 loads a year, you can save at least $25 on your electric bill and extend the life of your favorite garments.

15. If possible, invest in new, energy efficient appliances like Energy Star refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers. These upgrades eventually pay for themselves in energy savings. A new refrigerator costs about $55 a year to run versus $160 for an older model.

WATER

16. Buy a hot water heater blanket. The insulating jacket can reduce heat loss by an appreciable 25-40%.

17. Insulate your pipes carrying hot water. Insulating your hot water pipes reduces heat loss and can raise water temperature 2ºF–4ºF hotter than un-insulated pipes can deliver, allowing for a lower water temperature setting.
18. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting – 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Since water heating can account for 14-25% of the energy consumed in your home, you will save energy, lower costs and avoid scalding your hands.

19. Install a low flow showerhead. Installing a low flow showerhead, you will save about 33% on the hot water used

20. Don’t pre-rinse your dishes before placing in a dishwasher. By not pre-rinsing dishes, you can save up to $70 a year!

21. Adjust the water level on your washing machine and always use a cold rinse. Make sure the water level matches your load size. By using a cold rinse, you will help lower your electricity bill.

Information Compliments of Direct Energy