The list represents 10 ways that consumers can keep from becoming victims of rising home energy bills. Pepco says the typical customer whose current bill averages $56.50 per month will see an increase to about $66.50 per month. Two of the steps alone–installing a programmable thermostat and replacing 5 of the most frequently used light fixtures or light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones– can save approximately $160 per year after the initial investment, a savings of 25% more than the projected average annual $120 Pepco increase.
These actions will not only save consumers money each year, but they will also help our environment. “There are few opportunities where consumers can both save money and do the right thing” said Hall-Crawford. “The biggest challenge most consumers have is knowing what actions they can take that really pay off.” CFA’s “10 Simple Ways to Cut Home Energy Costs” was purposely designed to help consumers stay comfortable while spending less on their energy bills.
This list is an effort by CFA to enable consumers to take charge of energy usage by making the smartest, most economical choices possible. All consumers need is the information to make a difference in their home and purchases.
The list provides three areas of savings: simple maintenance anyone can do; sealing unwanted air leaks; and smart purchases that save money.
Consumer Federation of America’s 10 Simple Ways to Cut Home Energy Costs
1. Check furnace or heat pump filters once a month and replace them regularly. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure.
2. Get your heating and cooling systems checked once a year. A licensed professional will make sure that each is operating efficiently and safely. Checkups can identify problems early.
Sealing Unwanted Air Leaks in Your Home
3. Install your storm windows in the winter, if you have them. Add them if you don’t have insulated windows. Or, if you’re looking for replacement windows, choose ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR, the government’s symbol for energy efficiency.
4. Caulk and weather-strip all leaky windows, baseboards and doors.
5. Caulk and weather proof all exterior openings for plumbing, and electrical service and look for other openings that need to be sealed.
6. Make sure all attic vents and ducts are properly sealed. Sealing your ducts can save up to $140 annually on energy bills and help you consistently heat every room.
7. Check your attic and all accessible exterior walls in your basement or unfinished rooms to make sure they are well insulated.
Smart Purchases that Save Money
8. Install a programmable thermostat–a system that automatically adjusts to different temperature programs to meet your comfort needs efficiently during different times of the day or week. A programmable thermostat can save you $100 a year when programmed and used properly.
9. Replace traditional light bulbs and fixtures with compact fluorescents. They cost a bit more, but they use two-thirds less energy and can last up to ten times longer than incandescents. They are especially good in high use areas like the kitchen or hard to reach fixtures.
10. Look for ENERGY STAR qualified products and appliances for your home. Products that have earned the ENERGY STAR meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. They use less energy, help prevent air pollution and reduce energy costs in your home.
For more info, visit www.buyenergyefficient.org.
The Consumer Federation of America is a non-profit association of 300 consumer groups, with a combined membership of more than 50 million people. CFA was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through advocacy and education.