1. Drop your hot water heater temperature
If your hot water heater temperature is set above 120 degrees Fahrenheit you’re paying more for your hot water than you need to.
Temperatures above 120 F can cause scalding, so there’s no real reason to keep water in your hot water heater at temperatures above this number.
2. Insulation check
If your attic is unfinished, check out the insulation to see what you’ve got. You need to see, at a minimum, six inches (or more if you live in a colder climate) everywhere you look.
If there’s not enough…or what’s there doesn’t appear to be in good condition, install new insulation. Check the Department of Energy insulation guide to help determine what you need.
Check with your state to see what kind of financial incentives they have to help homeowners conserve energy; in some cases, you could receive a refund of up to 75% of the costs you incur to better insulate your home.
3. Mark any basement cracks with masking tape
Often, homes can have small cracks in the basement walls as a result of the house settling. Most of the time, these cracks aren’t growing so they don’t represent an issue that needs fixing.
However, to be sure that the cracks in your foundation aren’t an issue do the following:
Cover up the ends of the cracks you see with masking tape. Write the date on the tape and let it sit for a few months. When you look at the cracks again if you notice it’s growing out from under the tape you’ll save money if you have it repaired now, rather than later when it could cost you much more to fix.
4. Install ceiling fans
Ceiling fans can help reduce your heating and cooling costs by letting you keep your thermostat a degree or two higher (or lower) without sacrificing comfort.
To keep your home cooler in the summer the ceiling fan needs to be set so that air is blowing down on you. For use in the winter simply move the reversal switch so that air is blowing upwards. This will push warmer air (that rises to the ceilings) out into the remainder of the room, keeping it warmer for less money.
5. Wrap exposed water pipes with insulation
Hot water pipes naturally lose heat as they travel through the voids in your home. Wrap exposed pipes – where you can reach them – in pipe insulation, especially in garages or basements to reduce this loss.
Focus on the pipes that lead into and out of your hot water heater (about 3 feet in and out) because these are the areas that benefit the most from pipe insulation.
6. Add a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat is an easy way to control the heating and cooling of your home, especially if you keep a regular schedule.
Simply program your thermostat to drop by a few degrees each night as you’re sleeping and during the day while you’re gone and then have it set to your preferred temperature just in time for your return home.
7. Cover your hot water heater
If you have a traditional hot water heater – instead of an on-demand or tankless hot water heat, wrap a blanket around it.
This will help your hot water heater to conserve energy and last longer; the water in the tank stays warmer for longer, requiring less work from the heater element in your tank.