Your Home’s Energy Use
One of the first steps to managing your home energy use is to understand where your energy dollars are spent. The chart below demonstrates how energy is typically used in American homes based on a national average. The low-cost, no-cost tips below can help the systems and appliances in your home run more efficiently. In addition, a home energy audit can help you assess how much energy your home uses and evaluate what measures you can take to improve efficiency. Be sure to contact your local utility provider to see what programs or incentives might be available to you.
Save on air conditioning and heating
- Set your manual thermostats to 78 degrees (F) in the summer and 68 degrees (F) in the winter.
- Install a programmable thermostat so heating and cooling temperatures can be automatically adjusted while you’re sleeping or away.
- Raise the thermostat and use ceiling or room fans in the rooms you occupy to feel cooler. Remember to turn fans off when you leave a room.
- Change or clean air filters in your heating and cooling system monthly.
- Schedule routine check-ups of your heating and cooling system to improve efficiency and comfort.
- Plant deciduous bushes and trees around your home.
- Provide window shading, such as solar screens, awnings, or blinds and/or drapes.
It is a measure of the capacity of a material to resist heat transfer. The important thing to know is the larger the R-Value of a material, the greater its insulating properties. Learn more about proper insulation from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Seal and insulate
- In Central Texas, install R-30 insulation in the attic and R-13 in the walls.
- Seal air leaks around windows, doors, attic access openings, plumbing, chimneys, recessed light fixtures, framing defects, and pipes and wires with caulk, weather-stripping or foam sealant.
- Install foam gaskets behind electrical outlets and switches.
Disconnect and use energy saving lighting and appliances
- Use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs):
- CFLs use 75 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.
- CFLs last on average five years, helping to save on product and maintenance costs.
- Using CFLs will help save on air conditioning expenses because they only put off about 90 degrees of heat, rather than the 350 degrees that incandescent bulbs produce.
- Many home improvement stores recycle used CFLs, so disposing of them is much easier now.
ENERGY STAR rated appliances, entertainment, and home office equipment, which use 10 to 50 percent less power than standard models.
- Turn off lights and appliances when not in use.
- Unplug items that don’t require full-time connection or use power strips that can be flipped on or off as needed. Nearly 75 percent of the energy consumed by home appliances occurs while they’re turned off but still plugged in.
Save water to save energy
- Turn your water heater thermostat down to 120 degrees (F).
- Run only full loads in the clothes washer or dishwasher.
- Use cold water for clothes washing when possible.
- Install low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets.
- When replacing a water heater, consider an on-demand or tankless option. Be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR label for maximum efficiency.