Energy Saving Tips to Help Lower Your Heating and Cooling Bills

October 8, 2008

Programmable thermostats and window treatments can keep down the costs of staying cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  Here are some other minor home improvements you can make to your home that can have a major impact on your energy bill:

Change to CFL Bulbs. Americans could save close to $8 billion in energy costs by replacing each home’s five most frequently used light fixtures with CFL bulbs. CFL Bulbs use up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs and are now available in dimmable and spot light bulbs.

Choose ENERGY STAR appliances. Save money and the environment by replacing standard model appliances with ones that are ENERGY STAR-qualified. ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances use 10-50 percent less energy and water than standard models.

Update your exterior door. An ENERGY STAR-qualified exterior door with built-in weather stripping offers five times the insulating value of a solid wood door.

Update your windows. ENERGY STAR-qualified windows can reduce your energy costs by $126-$465 per year when replacing single-pane windows or $27-$111 a year when replacing double-pane, clear glass windows. For a quick fix, add heat control window film to your windows and save up to 50 percent on your cooling costs.

Install dimmer switches and motion detectors. Dim the lights by 25 percent and save an average of 15 percent a year on energy costs, and extend the bulb life by four times. By adding motion-sensitive exterior lighting and adding dimmer switches indoors where appropriate, you can control the wattage, saving you on your energy bills.

Install a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans can save you $10 a year on utility bills, plus the additional air conditioning or heating savings gained when a fan is operated properly. ENERGY STAR-qualified ceiling fans use 50 percent less energy than standard fans and circulate 25 percent more air.

Regularly maintain your furnace and water heater. Water heating is the third largest energy expense in the home and typically accounts for about 13 percent of the utility bill. Tankless water heaters can save 30-70 percent on energy costs compared to standard gas or electric models.

Seal your home from heat and cold. Allowing air to escape through gaps and cracks is like throwing your money away. By sealing your home like caulk, sealant and weather-stripping, you can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Insulate your home. Homeowners typically can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent by sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces and accessible basement rim joists. Choose from blow-in or roll insulation. 

Thanks to Bob Jurecic and Ron Jarvis of the Home Depot for sharing these tips on home improvement projects and products that can help us save energy and reduce costs.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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3 Responses to Energy Saving Tips to Help Lower Your Heating and Cooling Bills

  • John

    Thanks for all the tips. I think dimmers are great and have them in my office. I found another site which gave some ways to save electricity, but looking for more good advice. Also, what can we do to get help after we use methods to save? Any other tips or info on gov’t programs? Thanks

  • marci

    Remember to close your foundation vents for winter. I forgot last winter and I’m just reminding myself to do it now 🙂

    Remember the CFL bulbs need to be disposed of as hazardous waste and not in the garbage, as they contain mercury.

    Good list!


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