Knowing where to start with efficiency can be overwhelming. To help guide you, Xcel Energy offers this list of measures most often implemented.
Check your furnace filter.
The number one way to make your furnace more efficient is to change the filter regularly. Newer homes have an air-to-air heat exchanger, also known as a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) or Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV), and those have filters in them.
Clean your refrigerator coils.
In most current models, they’re on the bottom. You can pull off the cover, clean them, and put the cover back on. In older models, the coils are on the back.
Upgrade your lighting.
ENERGY STAR® lighting provides bright warm light while using 85 percent less energy generating 70 percent less heat and lasting up to ten times longer than standard. Xcel Energy partners with various retailers to offer discounted LED and CFL bulbs.
Install a programmable thermostat.
By turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours, you can save five to 15 percent a year on your heating bill, a savings of as much as one percent for each degree if the setback period is at least eight hours long.
Install high efficiency shower heads and faucets.
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 (high effciency) showerhead, a seven-minute shower will use less water than a full bath.
Insulate your water heater.
Just like insulating your walls or roof, insulating your hot water tank is an easy and inexpensive way to improve energy efficiency and save you money. If your water tank is new, it is likely already insulated. If you have an older hot water tank, check to see if it has insulation with an R-value of at least 24. If not, consider insulating it, which could save you about 4–9 percent in water heating costs—and should pay for itself in about a year. You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $20. If you don’t know your water heater tank’s R-value, touch it. A tank that is warm to the touch needs additional insulation.
Install attic and wall air sealing and insulation.
Sealing and insulating — done by a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor — can save more than $200 a year in heating and cooling costs or up to 10% on total annual energy bills. Sealing leaks and adding insulation can:
- Improve the overall comfort of your home
- Reduce noise from outside
- Prevent pollen, dust and insects (or pests) from entering your home
- Improve humidity control
- Lower the chance for ice dams on the roof/eves
Purchase 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.
Choose a high efficiency heating and cooling system.
50% of a home’s energy expenses come from heating and cooling. A high efficiency system that includes a variable speed furnace will save you energy and money. Also, zoned HVAC systems will help keep every room the temperature you want.
Too much to digest? Let the experts do it.
Home Energy Audits or a visit from the Home Energy Squad can be a great way to let the experts customize your efficiency plan for your home. Standard audits start at $60 which include a review of your attic, insulation, doors, windows, furnace or boiler, appliances and more.
The Home Energy Squad involves two experts installing a whole package of energy-efficient items in your home for a flat fee of just $70. They’re able to install efficient light bulbs, faucet aerators and weather stripping on the spot.
For more about Xcel Energy rebates and energy efficiency programs, visit www.xcelenergy.com