1&2) Approximately 40% of your bill goes to heating and cooling your home. Save on your bill by setting the thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer. We recommend 68° in the winter and 78° in the summer.
3) Only about 20% of homes built before 1980 are considered well insulated. One of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable year-round is to add insulation to your attic. Most U.S. homes should have between R-30 and R-60 insulation in the attic. Don’t forget the attic trap or access door.
4) Plant deciduous trees like oak, maple, gum, ash and dogwood. They lose their leaves in the winter, letting the sun through to warm your home. In summer, their leaves shade your home. Plant shade trees to the south, since that side gets the most sun. Evergreens are effective for blocking wind. Plant them in a staggered or double line to the northwest of your home. Smaller foundation plants can minimize the loss of cool air away from the house in summer and, in winter, provide additional wind protection.
5) The average person takes a 10 minute shower with roughly 2 gallons of water being used per minute. This equates to 20 gallons every time you shower!
6) Lower your water heating costs by adjusting the temperature to 120°. Reducing your water temperature to 120ºF also slows mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes. This helps your water heater last longer and operate at its maximum efficiency.
7) Two words: heat loss. Insulating your hot water pipes will reduce losses as the hot water is flowing to your faucet and, more importantly, it will reduce standby losses when the tap is turned off and then back on within an hour or so. A great deal of energy and water is wasted waiting for the hot water to reach the tap. Even when pipes are insulated, the water in the pipes will eventually cool, but it stays warmer much longer than it would if the pipes weren’t insulated.
8) Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool - wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system - leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.
9) This is a bit of a trick question. Most sources report that showers use less water, but of course that depends on the length of time and the type of showerhead you have. For the sake of argument, we’ll go with the sources and say baths use more water than showers.
10) As reported in last week’s blog post, standby power (or energy vampires!) can account for about 10% of residential electricity use. The good news is that most of this percentage is preventable by just making some minor (mostly behavioral) changes. Use your power strips and flip the switch when you’re done…or just unplug your appliances/electronics!
13 hours ago