If you’re not building a new home but want to know a few ways to save energy and money, Xcel Energy can help. Below are things anyone can do, no matter the size of your home, to help you save energy and money this spring.
To tour energy tested homes during the Spring Parade of Homes, be sure to check out homes on our Green Path Energy Tour by Xcel Energy.
Plug electronics into a power strip.
Plugging electronics into a power strip provides a convenient ‘turn-on/turn-off’ point, so you can be sure your products are only on when you are using them. It is estimated that stand-by power accounts for more than $11 billion in annual U.S. energy costs.
Use your ceiling fan.
Use a ceiling fan so you can turn down your air-conditioner. This way you can lower your energy bill and still stay comfortable. Just be sure to turn it off when you leave the room. Ceiling fans cool people, not the room. ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling fans with lights are 60 percent more efficient and can save $165 in energy costs over the fan’s 10-year lifetime.
Install a programmable thermostat.
This small but useful item is worth every penny. You can set the home temperature back 7-8 degrees when you’re sleeping or away to save energy. With proper use, programmable thermostats can save about every year in energy costs. Xcel Energy now offers a $50 instant rebate on select models of smart thermostats. Visit xcelenergystore.com to learn more.
Opt for high-efficiency faucets and shower heads.
Faucets that use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute can reduce a sink’s water flow by 30 percent or more from the standard flow of 2.2 gallons per minute without sacrificing performance. Also, if you have a 2.5 gallon-per-minute (low-flow) showerhead, a 7-minute shower will use less water than a full bath.
Change your furnace filter.
The average home spends more than $2,000 per year on utility bills, nearly half going to heating and cooling. Check your air filter every month, especially during heavy use months. If the filter looks dirty, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter slows down air flow and makes your system work harder to keep you comfortable.
Caulk and weather strip around windows and doors.
Check for signs of air leakage around windows and doors. Then use caulk and weather-stripping to stop the leaks. Homeowners typically save up to $200 a year in heating and cooling costs by air sealing their homes and adding insulation.
Sign up for Saver’s Switch®.
It’s free – all you do is sign up and you’ll receive 15% off of your June through September electric energy charges just for participating. A small device is attached outside of your house near your central AC unit that cycles it off for 10-minute intervals during the hottest days. Your furnace fan stays on, circulating cooled air; and the difference is just a degree or two…but it helps everyone on those days when the need is greatest. You get the discount no matter whether your AC unit is ever cycled off. If you’re in the market for a new cooling system, Xcel Energy provides rebates for higher efficiency AC models to help offset the cost.
Install LED lighting.
LED lighting provides bright, while using 85 percent less energy and lasting up to 25 years. Replace bulbs in your home, one at a time. Which lamp do you use most? Which room are you in the most? Start with that bulb or room and build from there. Xcel Energy partners with retailers to offer discounts on energy efficient bulbs. Visit xcelenergy.com/lightingdeals for participating retailers.
Choose ENERGY STAR appliances.
A new ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator uses less energy than a 60-watt light bulb. ENERGY STAR dishwashers and clothes washers use a third of the energy and water and require one-third of the soap. By the way, Xcel Energy will recycle your secondary fridge that’s chugging away in your basement. We’ll give you $35 for it, and haul it away for you, too.
Hire an expert.
For $60 ($200 value), you can get a Standard Home Energy Audit, which includes a visit from a contracted energy expert who will identify energy efficiency opportunities and help you develop a plan of action. The audit includes a review of the attic, insulation, doors, windows, furnace, appliances and more. The expert will identify problems such as drafty windows, insufficient insulation, humidity problems, inefficient appliances, poor ventilation, or inefficient heating and cooling systems. You could also choose the Infrared Home Energy Audit for only $100; you’d get all of the above plus an infrared scan of your home so you can see where your conditioned air is escaping. If you plan to implement several energy efficient upgrades, consider the Home Performance with Energy Star program to earn even more in rebate dollars.
To find these and other great energy and water saving tips, visit www.energystar.gov.
To learn more about Xcel Energy’s rebates and energy efficiency programs, please visit www.xcelenergy.com.