Tips on saving energy in your home

Here are some free ways to save energy:

Turn your thermostat off in the summer and in the winter and leave it alone. With each degree decrease on your thermostat in the winter you can immediately see a 3 percent to 4 percent decrease in energy use.

You can help your heating and cooling system run more efficiently by keeping air vents clear of obstructions such as furniture, curtains, pictures and rugs.

You can make sure your ductwork for your heating system is properly sealed. Holes in the joints of the ductwork can cause outside air to enter your home. Your heating and cooling bills will increase by as much as 40 percent with these defects in your system.

You can make sure on sunny days to open curtains and shades to let the sun warm your home naturally instead of turning on the heat.

If you have a fireplace in your home, make sure the damper of the fireplace is closed when you’re not using it. This will keep cold air from coming down the chimney and into your home, and it also will reduce warm air loss from your home.

You can dress warmly indoors, and this will allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees lower and still stay comfortable inside your home.

You can keep your curtains and shades closed during the summer, especially on the east and west sides of your home so you don’t have to use the air conditioner as much.

You can avoid using your appliances that give off heat during the hottest times of the day in the summer, and this will give your cooling system a break, and it wouldn’t need to work that much harder. Do your cooking, washing and drying of clothes in the morning or in the late evening, when the demand on your cooling system is less.

You can use a ceiling or area fan in the summer, and they will make the air feel up to six to 10 degrees cooler. You can use fans only if you are in the room, because running the fan doesn’t lower the temperature; it just makes you feel cooler.

These options cost money but will save energy:

You can install low-flow shower-heads and faucet aerators. You probably will not notice the difference in water flow, but these fixtures can reduce water consumption by up to 50%.

You can install double-panel replacement windows. They will reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer dramatically.

If your home was built before 1978 make sure your attic, walls and floors are properly insulated.

If your water heater is more than seven years old, chances are it’s wasting energy. Today’s water heaters are much more efficient, saving you energy and money. So, I highly suggest replacing it if it is older than 7 years.

You can save by having your heating and cooling systems professionally serviced yearly to keep them running at top efficiency.

You can make sure the caulking and weather stripping around your windows and doors are in good shape. If the caulking is dried or cracked or the weather stripping is damaged or peeling, replace the old material with new material.

You can put weather-stripping and insulate your attic hatch or add a thermal hood to cut down on cold or hot air loss.