Top Ten Ways to Save Energy Costs with a Bonus

1. Replace your thermostat with a set-back type. If you have a forced air furnace keep the temperature setting lower at night and during the day if everyone in your house is at work or school. You can reset for weekends when people are at home.

2. Lower the temperature on your hot water tank to the Medium setting. (120 degrees)

3. Make sure all your windows and doors have weather stripping…in good condition. Replace cracked or broken glass panes. In pre -WWII houses repair glazing putty to eliminate hot air escaping and cold air infiltration. On a cold day put your hand around the window and the frame (casing) especially if your have double hung windows, if you feel cold air, that is an area to weatherize. You may feel that same cold air at receptacles on an outside wall. Install cover plate insulators under those plates.

4. Increase the thickness of your attic insulation if it isn’t at least 18″ or R60. You can add unfaced batts of fiberglass. Run them in the opposite direction to your existing insulation. You could also blow cellulose insulation over the existing. Home Depot will loan you the blowing machine if you buy insulation from them.

5. If you are not using your fireplace close the damper. If the damper is broken, plug the opening to the chimney with fiberglass insulation. If you do use your fireplace, a glass screen will confine cold air to the inner hearth area.

6. If you have an uninsulated crawl space below your home, spread a 4 or 6 mil polyetheylene film over the ground and insulate between the joists with R-13 fiberglass. The vapor barrier is always placed against the warmer space which is the floor above. This insulation is held in place with wire hangers made for that purpose. (Not well marked in the store so just ask for assistance.) If you use a staple gun, make sure that you use stainless steel staples.

7. Install a new shower head which will restrict the water flow to 1 -2 gpm.

8. Adjust the setting on your washing machine so it rinses with cold water instead of warm or hot. Use Cold Water detergent.

9. Unplug low voltage power supplies for cell phones and electronic appliances when not in use charging. Much of your electric energy usage actually takes place when those appliances are not in use.

10. If your Hot water tank is older or in an unheated area install an insulation jacket. These jackets can be purchased at home centers and hardware stores.

Note: since you might not want to adjust all of your living habits at once, I’m adding one extra-point suggestion to use as a substitute.

11. If you have rooms that are not really in use, possibly in the basement, attached garage, third floor or attic, use bubble wrap to provide a very effective cold air barrier by using it as a window cover. Light will still pass through but little to cold air will enter.

One word of advice about ceiling insulation in the attic – that’s the insulation that runs parallel to the roof on the inside of a heated attic.- If you do add insulation here, do not overfill between rafters or you could prevent proper air circulation and cook your roof from the inside. Plastic baffles are available to maintain a space between the back of roof and the top of the insulation.

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