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- When using the fireplace, turn down your heater. When you’re not using it, close the damper to prevent cold air from coming in.
- Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close curtains, shades, and blinds at night to help prevent warm air from escaping.
- When you’re at home, set the furnace thermostat at 68°F or lower, health permitting. Three to five percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68°F.
- When you leave the house, set the thermostat to 56°F. By turning your thermostat back 10-15 degrees for 8 hours; you can save 5-15 percent a year on your heating bill.
- Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
- Add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
- Avoid using the oven on hot days. Instead, cook on the stove, use a microwave oven, or grill outside.
- Clear the area around where your air conditioner vents to the outside to ensure the best possible ventilation.
- Save on cooling costs by setting your thermostat to 75-78°F when you’re at home, health permitting. Set it to 85°F when you’re away for more than a few hours.
- Wait until cooler times of the day to do tasks that make your house warmer, like laundry and cooking.
- Hang laundry outside. Take advantage of late sunsets and warm evenings to bypass your dryer and let your clothes air dry.
- Open your windows and let cooler air flow into your home in the morning and at night. Cover your windows during the day to block the hot sun.
- Check the filter on your air conditioning system and clean or replace it if it’s dirty.
- If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.
- Don’t waste money on electronics or appliances not in use. Turn off and unplug TVs and DVD players, computers, phone chargers, coffee makers, etc.
- Wash full loads of laundry using cold water. Today’s modern detergents work great in cold water, and about 90 percent of the energy used by clothes washers goes to water heating.
- Use your clothes dryer for consecutive loads. The built-up heat means less energy spent.
- Make sure the lint trap in the clothes dryer is clean before you press start. Add a tennis ball or clean, dry towel to improve air circulation and reduce drying time.
- Don’t let the hot water run. Turn it off when it’s not needed while brushing teeth, shaving or doing dishes.
- Install energy-saving showerheads, faucets, or flow restrictors.
- Use dimmer switches or timers on your lights. Turn them off when you exit a room.
- Defrost your refrigerator or freezer whenever ice builds up more than one-quarter of an inch.
To Teach Children
- Turn off lights and all electronics (like computers, televisions, stereos, and video-games) when you leave a room.
- Use the microwave instead of the oven for cooking your meals.
- Take a short shower instead of a long bath. It might take 25 gallons of hot water to fill the bathtub, compared to only seven gallons for a quick shower.
- Don’t leave the refrigerator door open. Every time you open the door, up to one-third of the cold air can escape.
- Spend time playing and exercising outdoors when possible and avoid having too many people in one room; human beings create lots of heat.
- Help your family plant a tree in your front yard to help shade your house on hot summer days.
- When coming in and out of the house, be sure to shut the door completely so the warm or cool air doesn’t escape.
- If you get cold, grab a blanket or sweater before asking an adult to turn up the thermostat. In the summer wear light, bright clothes to keep you cooler in the heat.