52 Ways to Save Energy and Cash
Tuning up your equipment. Turning down the heat. Training yourself to turn off lights. There are so many things you can do to save energy around your home. Many of them are fast and FREE, and ALL are effective in ensuring maximum comfort, energy savings and peace of mind all year long.
In interviews on NBC and WABC-TV News, industry spokesman, Kevin Rooney, stated, "Conservation is always in the best interest of the consumer ... If you spend a hundred to a hundred and fifty dollars to have a programmable thermostat fully installed, it will pay for itself in the very first year." Mr. Rooney added, "Failing to tune up a heating system will drop the efficiency and a homeowner will use about ten percent more fuel."
So where do you begin?
Start with your Oilheat delivery:
- Make it automatic. Arrange for automatic delivery to ensure your home always has heating oil.
- Get on a budget plan. You can stretch your fuel payments out over 10-12 months (depending on your company), so they won't bunch up when it's least convenient, such as when you've got all those holiday bills to pay off.
Reach for the ENERGY STAR®:
- Upgrade to ENERGY STAR® energy efficient heating equipment, which can save 10-40% on heating and cooling bills and may also improve the comfort level in your home. In 2015 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR®, saved about $34 billion on their energy bills.
Test your heating system before it gets cold:
- Check that your emergency switch is "on." Then raise the thermostat at least 10 degrees higher than room temperature.
- Listen to your heating system - it should "hum" into action.
- If the equipment doesn't start up, press the reset button on your oil burner's relay. (Only press it once.)
- If your heating system still won't start, or if it creates an odor or strange sound, don't hesitate to call your local OHILI member dealer. They'll check your heating system right away!
Keep your heating system properly maintained:
- Call your local OHILI member dealer for your heating system's annual tune-up and cleaning.
- Take advantage of your Oilheat dealer's service plans, offering you prompt emergency service, and coverage of valuable system parts and labor.
- Schedule a heating system efficiency test.
Conserve heat around your home during colder months:
- Let the sun shine. Windows on the south side of the house get the most sunlight. Eastern windows get sunlight in the morning. West facing windows receive sunlight in the afternoon. Open shades and drapes during the daytime and close them when the sun goes out.
- Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors when not in use.
- Install glass doors on the fireplace for added insulation and reduced heat loss.
- Have your fireplace chimney cleaned and inspected regularly, and burn only fully dried hardwoods for the most heat output.
- Remove air conditioning window units, or cover them well.
- Correct air leaks around windows, doors and electrical outlets.
- Repair weather stripping and caulking.
- Check your threshold for any gaps between it and the door. Use a bottom seal that can be attached to the bottom of the door - it should brush up against the floor to seal up the threshold. It virtually stops drafts.
- Keep radiators free of dust for top efficiency.
- Turn your thermostat back when not at home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save about 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill.
- Get an automatic setback or programmable thermostat, which, when used properly, can shave $100 off your annual energy bills.
- Make sure rugs and furniture don't block the air circulation from baseboard outlets.
- Replace any cracked glass in your windows.
- Seal off your attic circulating fan with polyethylene and tape.
- Make sure your ceiling has at least six inches of good thermal insulation.
- Install a water heater blanket for greater heating efficiency.
- Wrap your pipes, to guard against heat loss and prevent them from freezing.
- Keep ductwork in good repair with duct tape or duct insulation. Your home could be losing up to 25% of its hot air before it reaches the vents!
- Re-glaze window glass (glazing is the putty that seals the glass to the frame). You can use a putty knife or glazing gun. Re-glazing stops air infiltration on the sash (window frame) itself. You can then install a V-strip to stop any leaking that would go around the sash. This also makes the window easier to operate up and down.
- Avoid using space heaters. They're expensive to operate, and can be dangerous, too.
Conserve energy during warmer months:
- Keep drapes, blinds and shades closed during the day to block out the sun.
- Clear furniture away from air conditioning vents, and close unused rooms and their vents.
- Install an attic fan - it can cool your attic by nearly 30°!
- Keep cool air in by installing insulation and weather-stripping.
- Install reflective window coatings to reflect heat away from your home.
- Cook on the grill to keep cooking heat outside.
- When cooking inside, use a microwave instead of a conventional oven - it uses less than half the power and cooks food in about one-fourth the time.
- Turn the air conditioner thermostat up to at least 78° or higher, or use a programmable thermostat. Turn air conditioners off when no one is home.
- Plant shade trees due west of west windows - it could reduce your air conditioning bills by up to 25%.
Conserve energy around your home all year long:
- Close off rooms you don't use - and remember to shut the vents inside.
- Turn off the lights if you leave a room for more than a few seconds.
- Use compact fluorescent lights. They last up to 10-13 times longer than standard bulbs and use 75% less energy.
- Install dimmer switches. In addition to making for more romantic dinners, they'll extend the life of your bulbs and help you save up to 60% on your lighting costs.
- Install motion activated switches that automatically turn lights on and off.
- Lower the temperature of your water heater from 140° (medium) to 120° (low). You'll save 3-5% in water heating costs for each 10° reduction. Or consider a timer to turn your water heater off when not in use.
- Install water-conserving fixtures, such as showerheads, faucets and toilets.
- Fix leaky faucets, especially hot water faucets. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons per month - more than a person uses in two weeks.
- Take showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower will use about 7.5 gallons of hot water; filling a bathtub can use up to 20 gallons.
- Install ceiling fans. They could cut your energy bill by 40%. And reversing fans for upward airflow will move warm air down in winter!
- Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer. Also, cover food in the fridge; uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder.
- Don't leave the fridge door open! Every time you do, up to 30% of the cooled air can escape. The same can be said for your oven.
- Use less water and use cooler water when doing laundry. The warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half.