Baltimore area homeowners with high utility bills may wonder how to reduce energy costs while retaining maximum comfort.
Besides upgrading to a more energy-efficient HVAC system, following these “whole-house” tips should help you noticeably reduce energy costs:
- Set hot water heater at 120 degrees.
- Set refrigerator temperature to 37- 40 degrees for fresh food, and 5 degrees for frozen (0 degrees, if freezing for extended periods).
- Keep doors, windows and fireplace dampers tightly closed when not in use.
- Turn on ceiling fans.
- Turn off lights, and electronics when not in use, at the power strips, if possible.
- Turn off exhaust fans within 20 minutes of use.
- Clean dryer vents frequently.
- Clean/unblock radiators, baseboard heaters, and warm-air registers.
- Wash only full loads of dishes and clothing; avoid overloading or using the “rinse hold” cycle.
- Use toaster or convection ovens for small meals.
- Match pan sizes to heating elements.
- Avoid operating faucets on “hot” unless truly needed.
- Scrape, rather than rinse or soak dishes.
- Air dry dishes and clothes, whenever possible.
- Cover kitchen exhaust fans when not in use.
- Take short showers and avoid taking baths.
Low cost upgrades
- Energy efficient light bulbs, air filters, and window treatments
- Programmable thermostats
- Water heater timers and insulation
- Lighting dimmers, sensors or timers
- Low-flow showerheads
- Chimney balloons
- Weatherstripping or caulk around small leaky areas (foam sealant on larger gaps)
- Foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates
- Deciduous trees and/or vines on the west and south sides of your home
- Heavy duty, clear plastic inside window frames
Professional services and upgrades
- Air conditioner coil cleaning
- Insulation, ductwork and flashing
- Storm windows and/or double-pane, low-emissivity windows
- Zoned HVAC systems
- Heat pumps
- Passive solar cooling and heating
- Green roofs
- Energy efficient appliances
If you have any questions about how to reduce energy costs, or to schedule a home energy audit, contact us. We’ll be delighted to assist you.
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Written by Kevin Spain