Energy-Saving Tips for Maryland Homeowners
There are many ways to reduce energy consumption and be more environmentally friendly. Here are some simple energy savings tips to help you cut fuel use and save money.
- Turn your thermostat down from 72°F to 68°F for eight hours a day and you’ll save as much as 10% on energy costs. Every degree you lower your thermostat could save you about 3% on your heating bill.
- Winterize windows with weather stripping (for all moveable joints) and caulk (for non moving parts). Also, use a window kit to insulate the inside of your windows to keep cold air out and warm air in.
- If you have a warm air system, change your furnace filter once a month.
- Make sure you reverse the direction of ceiling fans so they move warm air down, without creating a wind-chill effect.
- Install ceiling fans. They use far less energy than air conditioners and allow you to feel cool while keeping your thermostat set higher.
- Plant shade trees around your outdoor A/C unit. A unit sitting in the sun can use significantly more energy to cool your home than one in the shade.
- Fill your dishwasher completely before running it. In the summer, a dishwasher can add humidity to the air so your air conditioning system will need to work harder to maintain a cool temperature.
- Avoid using your stove, oven, dishwasher or clothes dryer during the warmest periods of the day. Your A/C system will have to work harder to keep your home cool.
- Clean the outdoor coils on your air conditioner as often as necessary (i.e., when dirt is visible on the outside of the coil).
- Clean the A/C evaporator coil and condensate pan every year.
- Clean the blower fan blades.
- Clean supply and return registers, and straighten their fins.
- Water heating is the third-highest energy expense in most homes. If the water temperature of your water heater is set at 140°F, turn it down to 130°F. You’ll save a few dollars each month.
- Using a microwave oven to cook meals uses about half the energy of a conventional oven.
- Another energy saver in the laundry room is putting a dry towel in the dryer with each load of wet clothes. The towel will absorb dampness and reduce drying time by up to 33%, saving energy and money.
- If you have a crawl space, inspect it regularly to be sure that the insulation inside is dry. When insulation gets wet, its effectiveness is significantly reduced. Find the source of the moisture and replace any damaged insulation.
- Vacuum the coils on your refrigerator every year. The dirt buildup makes the refrigerator work harder to keep the contents cool and therefore uses more energy.
- Check for open fireplace dampers.
- In Southern Maryland, double-pane windows with a low-emissive glass coating can reduce heating bills by 34%, compared with uncoated, single-pane windows.
- When adjusting a thermostat manually, remember that the house will not warm up or cool down faster if you set the thermostat past the desired temperature.
- Consider landscaping your home for energy conservation. For instance, plant evergreen trees on the north side and deciduous (leafy) trees on the south side to block winter winds and the summer sun.
- Make sure your attic is well insulated. This step alone can save you 20%-35% on heating costs and up to 35% on air conditioning costs.
- Install flow-restricting shower heads. You can reduce hot water use by as much as 50% without affecting shower pressure.
- Leave your storm windows on all year long. They provide valuable year-round insulation. Storm windows can create substantial fuel savings.
- Make sure your furnace, A/C, or duct system is sealed. Leaky ducts can waste an enormous amount of heat and air conditioning, and you won’t know it until you get hit with a huge energy bill. Contact us if you suspect a duct leak.
- Windows should have ample coverings to provide shade from warm sunlight in summer months. Draperies can provide added insulation in winter.
- Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely; in just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.
Of course one of the best ways to ensure that your HVAC system is performing at its top efficiency is contacting Burch Oil for a tune-up.