46% Heating/Cooling • 13% Appliances • 12% Lighting • 4% Electronics
Thermostat – Do you have a programmable thermostat? Check to be sure the date and time are correct and consider setting it lower a few degrees during the day or at times when no one is at home.
Electronic devices – Computers, printers, DVD players and gaming consoles are notorious “vampire power” users, draining energy even when not in use. If these items can be turned off without disrupting your lifestyle, consider plugging them into a power strip that can be turned on and off.
Lightbulbs – Replace old incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs. While more expensive to purchase, they last 10 to 25 times longer, save $30-80 in electricity over the life of the bulb, and produce 70-90 percent less heat.
Ductwork and pipes – You can improve energy efficiency by about 20 percent by sealing and insulating ductwork. For large jobs you should consider hiring a licensed professional.
Attics and crawlspaces or basements – Improving your home’s insulation and sealing air leaks are the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy waste. To learn more about R-value, different types of insulation, and how to better insulate, check out Illinois Country Living’s Energy Solutions columns at www.icl.coop or find the “Guide to Sealing and Insulating” at www.energystar.gov.
Windows and Doors – Caulk around window and door frames to help keep your home more comfortable by keeping the cold air out and the warm air in. A $6 tube of caulk can make a big difference!
Appliances – Appliances are large energy users. Consider replacing any appliance more than 10 years old for one of today’s energy efficient options. Consider using cold water to wash your clothes and running your washer, dryer or dishwasher at night, during off-peak times.
Water heaters – An Energy Star certified high efficiency electric storage water heater, known as a heat pump heater, can save a family of four over $3,500 in electricity costs over the lifetime of the water heater.
Illustration: Penny Kephart/Kentucky Living