As another cold Maine winter approaches, small changes can add up to big savings on energy costs. For instance, having your furnace cleaned and serviced can make it work more effectively, saving you money on heating oil.
Check out these energy efficiency tips from Efficiency Maine:
- Turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees when the house is unoccupied, and to 60 degrees when you are sleeping. When you’re home, heat only the rooms you are using.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Here’s a how-to video to help you.
- Let the sun in during the day and close your drapes at night, and prevent energy leaks by using window insulator kits.
- Increase the insulation in your home, use weather stripping, and install foam gaskets in receptacles and switch boxes.
- Use your stove-top and oven efficiently, and replace older appliances with Energy Star appliances.
- Avoid running unneeded refrigerators, and keep your refrigerator coils clean. Make sure your refrigerator door seals tightly.
- Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full, and using cool water.
- Set your water heater thermostat at 120 degrees, use energy efficient shower heads, and repair leaky faucets.
- Turn off the lights when you are not using them, use lower wattage light bulbs, and use CFL’s or LED’s. For outdoor lighting, use photocells that come on only at night.
- Borrow an electricity monitor from your local library to determine which appliances are drawing energy when they are left plugged in, and use a power strip to avoid phantom energy draw.
Becoming more energy efficient can save you money on your Federal Income Taxes, too. You can get a 30% Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit if you add eligible solar heating or wind energy systems to your home this year. Other home improvements qualify for the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit, including insulation, doors, windows, certain types of roofing, and heating, cooling, and water heating systems. Efficiency Maine also offers several rebate incentives to encourage homeowners to move toward energy efficiency. Best of all, you can combine the Efficiency Maine incentives with the energy tax credits.
All of these efforts will pay off in the long run. Energy.gov says you will save around 10% on heating bills if you turn your thermostat back 10-15 degrees for eight hours each day. Energy Star provides tools to help you see how much energy and money you can save by using Energy Star appliances in your home. As we strive to save money and to follow a sensible budget, it is rewarding to find simple ways to save on energy costs while keeping our homes warm and cozy this winter.