Tips on saving home energy

Monday February 19, 2001

According to the U.S. Energy Department, the average family spends about $1,300 per year on home utilities. Energy experts recommend several steps to save money – and power: 

– Adjust the thermostat. You’ll save about 3 percent for each degree you turn down the thermostat in winter. A programmable thermostat enables you to crank the furnace only for the few hours that you’re active at home. Clean or replace the furnace filter regularly and have your furnace professionally inspected annually. Heating and cooling accounts for more than half of your energy budget. 

– Insulate your water heater and lower its thermostat to 120 degrees. Making hot water accounts for 14 percent of your energy budget. 

– Reduce appliance use. Unplug TVs and other electronics that have digital clocks and a “standby” mode that drinks power even when the equipment is idle. Use your computer’s sleep mode. Ditto for copiers. 

– Replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. For security, install timers on a few indoor lights and motion sensors outside. 

– Call your utility or state energy conservation office for a home energy audit. Add insulation to attics and crawl spaces. Caulk and weather-strip leaks around doors and windows.