Energy Saving Tips
AFC cares about helping you conserve fuel and save money!
While the biggest savings will come from having our technicians service your system annually–or replacing old heating and cooling equipment with new high-efficiency models–there are many things you can also do on your own to save money.
Heating Season Tips
- Get your heating system inspected and tuned-up before the heating season begins. This will keep your furnace or boiler running efficiently, which can save you about 10% on annual heating bills. Keeping your system properly maintained also prevents costly breakdowns.
- Turn down your thermostat from 72°F to 68°F for eight hours a day and you’ll save as much as 10% on energy costs. Every degree you lower your thermostat could save you about 3% on your heating bill.
- Winterize windows with weatherstripping (for all moveable joints) and caulk (for nonmoving parts). Also, install a window kit to the inside of your windows to help keep cold air out and warm air in.
- Change or clean your furnace filter once a month. This keeps your system running efficiently. Tip: If you pay your fuel bills monthly, you can let your monthly bill serve as a reminder to check your filter.
- Keep baseboards or vents clear of rugs and furniture.
- Reverse the direction of ceiling fans so they move warm air down, where you can feel it.
- If you’re not using your wood-burning fireplace, close the dampers.
- Close vents and doors in unused rooms.
- Make sure your attic and basement are properly insulated.
- Wash clothes in cold water instead of hot water; this can save you about $50 per year.
- Cooking meals in a microwave oven will use about half the energy of a conventional oven.
- Put a dry towel in the dryer with each load of wet clothes. The towel will absorb dampness and reduce drying time up to 33%, saving energy and money.
- If you have a crawl space, inspect it regularly to be sure that the insulation inside is dry. When insulation gets wet, its effectiveness is significantly reduced. Find the source of the moisture and replace any damaged insulation.
- Vacuum the coils on your refrigerator every year. The dirt buildup makes the refrigerator work harder to keep the contents cool and therefore uses more energy.
- Double-pane windows with a low-emissivity glass coating can reduce heating bills by 34% in cold climates compared to uncoated, single-pane windows.
- When adjusting a thermostat manually, remember that the house will not warm up or cool down faster if you set the thermostat past the desired temperature. Besides, it is easy to forget to turn it back to the normal setting and in the meantime you’ll be wasting energy and money.
- Consider landscaping your home for energy conservation. For instance, plant evergreen trees on the north side and deciduous (leafy) trees on the south side to block winter winds and the heat of the summer sun.
- Make sure your attic is well insulated. This step alone can save you 20%-35% on heating costs and up to 35% on air conditioning costs. Seal any openings with caulk or compressed fiberglass insulation. Also check for adequate ventilation in the attic through unclogged, screened vents. If you run an air conditioner, consider adding roof vents (so your attic won’t trap hot air in the summer).
- Leave your storm windows on all year long. They provide valuable year-round insulation. Storm windows can create substantial fuel savings.
- Make sure your duct system is sealed. Leaky ducts can waste enormous amounts of heat and air conditioning, and you won’t know it until you get hit with a huge energy bill. Contact us if you suspect a duct leak.
- Windows should have ample coverings to provide shade from warm sunlight in summer months. Draperies can provide added insulation in winter.
- Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely; in just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.
Cooling Season Tips
- Get your cooling system inspected and tuned-up before the summer begins. This will keep your system running efficiently, which can save you 5-10% on annual cooling bills. Keeping your system properly maintained also prevents costly breakdowns.
- Avoid using your stove, oven, dishwasher or clothes dryer during the warmest periods of the day. Your a/c system will have to work harder to keep your home cool.
- Fill your dishwasher completely before running it. In the summer, a dishwasher can add humidity to the air so your air conditioning system will need to work harder to maintain a cool temperature.
- Plant shade trees around your outdoor a/c unit. A unit sitting in the sun can use significantly more energy to cool your home than one in the shade.
- Install ceiling fans. They use far less energy than air conditioners and allow you to feel cool while keeping your thermostat set higher.
Water Conservation Tips
- Install flow-restricting showerheads. You can reduce hot water usage by up to 50 percent without affecting shower pressure.
- Repair leaky faucets. A leak that fills a coffee cup in 10 minutes will waste 3,200 gallons of water per year.
- Run washing machines and clothes dryers with a full load.
- Switch from an electric water heater to a propane-powered water heater. Over time, propane water heaters can cost one-third less to operate and recover hot water twice as quickly as electric water heaters.