- The easiest to accomplish: Turn down the thermostat by just 1 degree. In Maryland, that can save up to 5%, between $45 and $75, depending on the fuel used.
- Only heat the areas where people and pets are, which can be as little as 20% of your space. Keep the doors shut and close the vents in unoccupied rooms.
- A programmable thermostat costs about $100, but can save up to $110 to $190 a year depending on fuel.
- A dirty furnace is less efficient, an annual inspection and cleaning will not only save money on your energy bill, it will probably maximize the life of your furnace. Additionally, a dirty furnace can emit fumes that can cause watery eyes, headaches and runny nose, or could even be dangerous.
- Changing your air filters regularly will help your furnace run more effectively, saving energy.
- Open curtains and other window treatments on your west- and south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night.
- Wear a sweater, turn down the thermostat.
- Hot Water
- I know you’ve probably heard this one, but its worth repeating, set the hot water heater at 130 degrees. Put some insulation around it too.
- Stop Leaks
- Cheap and easy to do: caulk any leaks around the house, windows, cracks, seals and weatherstripping. Maryland homeowners can save up to $215 to $375 depending on fuel used. Sealing and insulating heating and AC ducts increases efficiency and lowers home energy bills. Up to 20% of air can escape through leaks in ducts.
- Consider replacing old windows that aren’t efficient. The savings in energy costs may be worth it if you will remain in the house for a while. If you end up moving, the modern, energy efficient windows could very likely be a selling point for today’s buyers.
- If you can’t replace windows, install or re-install storm windows, especially in the attic, to stop warmer air from escaping. You can also put insulation film over windows to reduce drafts.
- Remember to close the fireplace flue when you’re not using it.
- Lighting Do’s and Don’ts
- Replace your four most used incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs which use only three quarters of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
- Use dimmers, timers and motion detectors.
- Turn off the lights! (like no one’s ever heard that before;-)
- Open the curtains and let the sunshine do its lighting work.
- In the Kitchen
- When you’re cooking, keep the lids on.
- Use the microwave more, it costs a fraction what gas and electric do, about $14 – $20 a year.
- Consolidate your trips, it saves on gas and keeps you from opening and closing the front door so much.
- Clean out gutters to prevent rainwater freezing and causing damage.
- Put your computer and appliances to sleep at night.
If you are doing some renovating, or buying new appliances, look for Energy Star appliances, electronics and lighting. If you are updating your HVAC system, Energy Star qualified heating and cooling equipment, when installed
correctly, can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs. Certain highly efficient models may quality for a tax credit or rebate. Energy efficient windows can cut heating costs by as much as 30%.
Maryland homeowners will see a jump in energy costs this winter, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. About 45% of the average Maryland homeowner’s energy bill goes to home heating. The average cost to homeowners who heat with natural gas will increase this year over last year by about $90, and by about $140 for those who use electric heating.
There is good news for those who use heating oil and propane, their costs will decrease by an average of $130 and $90 respectively. If you can afford the bulk price, consider pre-purchase heating oil to take advantage of lower rates. Be sure to research heating companies with the Better Business Bureau.
More energy saving tips for Maryland Homeowners.
With a View Towards Selling Your Home
Home buyers today are looking for more energy efficient homes. According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders, researchers found that Energy Efficiency tops the list of items most desired by today’s home buyers. Nine out of 10 buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features than a similar house without those features that costs less.
Home buyers also want high-end amenities, even if the home is smaller. Of those surveyed, 62% favored high-quality products over space, which includes double sinks, both tub and shower in the bath, smart storage and technology, like wireless home security systems and whole-house electronic control systems. Read more: Today’s buyers want smaller but smarter homes.
Making gradual improvements to your home with today’s buyers in mind will prove to be a great strategy when it’s time to sell your home.
Read more tips for homeowners:
Thanks to our favorite Home Inspector for these great energy saving tips!
David Goldberg – Home Inspector
Reliable Home Services, Inc.
PO Box 5159
Laytonsville, MD 20882
ASHI Member #101584
MD License #29322