The average home spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs but you can reduce your energy bill in the summer and for that matter year round. While the cost to perform all these actions may be expensive, they will pay for themselves by way of reduced electric bills and repair costs. For most peoople, following just some of these recommendations will save lots of money in the long run.
The savings numbers are based on a total summer electric bill. Equipment mentioned must be electric powered for estimates to be accurate.
LOW COST ENERGY SAVING INVESTMENTS
Purchase inexpensive energy-saving tools and equipment.
Replace air conditioner filters. Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit. (save 1-2 percent)
Plug all home leaks. Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers. (save up to 2 percent)
Choose ENERGY STAR® products such as table lamps and light fixtures, and replace incandescent light bulbs that are used more than two hours per day with ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent bulbs. An example is a porch light if left on overnight. (Savings for each bulb will be about 0.2 percent for each hour the bulb operates on a typical day. Therefore, replacing an incandescent bulb that burns 10 hours per day will save 2 percent)
Install an ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostat. (save 1-3 percent)
HIGHER COST ENERGY SAVING INVESTMENTS
If remodeling, replace old appliances.
Install a whole house fan
A whole house fan is permanently installed in your attic and draws cool air into your home through the windows while forcing hot air out through your attic vents. Use after sundown when the outside temperature drops below 80 degrees, and in the early morning to cool your house and help reduce your air conditioning use. (save up to 5 percent)
Install window shading
Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun. For additional future savings, use strategically planted trees, shrubs and vines to shade your home. (save 5 percent)
Solar control window films applied to existing glass in windows and doors is an effective method to reduce peak demand during hot months and conserve energy anytime air conditioning might be required. In addition to the energy management benefits, the use of these films can also reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation and reduce glare. Vist the International Window Film Association for more information. (save 5-10 percent)
Invest in a new air-conditioning unit
If your air conditioner is on the way out, buy an ENERGY STAR® air conditioner. (save up to 10 percent)
Seal your ducts
Leaking ductwork accounts for 25 percent of cooling costs in an average home, so have your ducts tested and have any leaks or restrictions repaired by a qualified contractor. Note: duct cleaning is not the same as duct sealing. As of October 1, 2005, if you install a new central air conditioner or furnace, your ducts will have to be inspected. (save 10 -20 percent)
Replace your refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR® model
Refrigerators with a top or bottom freezer design can save you an additional 2-3% on your bill compared to a side-by-side design. (save up to 10 percent)
Increase attic insulation
If existing insulation level is R-19 or less, consider insulating your attic to at least R-30. (save 10 percent)
Install ENERGY STAR® windows
If your windows are due for replacement, ENERGY STAR® windows can make your house more comfortable year-round. (save up to 10 percent)