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Proper home insulation is the most important part in conserving energy and keeping your utility bills lower. For average homes, use the below as a guide. Houses located in cold temperatures may need additional insulation to promote desired energy conservation.
Ceilings: R-30 (10″) Thermal resistance
Exterior walls, floors (over unheated areas): R-11 (3-1/2″) Thermal resistance
When using your heating or cooling system, keep all windows and doors closed.
Windows allow heat to enter the home in summer and escape the home in winter, but heat transfer can be cut significantly—up to 40% to 50%—by switching to double-glazed windows. These windows have a sealed air space between the two panes of glass.
Get metal-frame or wood-frame storm windows for your home. That extra layer of glass and air cuts heat transfer tremendously, even if your single-glazed windows are high quality.
All entrance doors and windows should have weather-stripping and caulking. Also, if your home has small areas where outside air can filter in, plug them with plastic, caulking or weather-stripping.
Fireplaces should have tight-fitting dampers that can be shut when not in use.
Humidifiers can help conserve heating costs in wintertime because moist air feels warmer and you can set your thermostat at a lower temperature setting.
Take advantage of a programmable thermostat which allows you to adjust indoor temperatures to your schedule. While away from the house, the system (heating or cooling) can be set to run less frequently, saving energy and money.
When going away on a trip, always adjust the temperature so the heating/cooling system will run less often. You may not want to turn the system completely off because heat often leads to odors or unwanted humidity that can be hard on furniture or other household items. Likewise, allowing your house to get too cold could lead to burst water pipes from freezing conditions.
Have your thermostat mounted on an internal wall, away from windows and doors.
If you’re expecting a large group of people, lower the thermostat just a couple of degrees. You’ll save on heating bills and have a more comfortable environment.
Set the thermostat as low as comfort permits. Each degree over 68° can add 3% to the amount of energy needed for heating.
Have your ductwork cleaned regularly by a professional.
Make sure your attic is well ventilated. Heat rises, and having larger vents can help relieve heat buildup.
If renovating a roof or building a new home, consider lighter-colored shingles to reflect the sun’s light and heat.
Don’t place heat-producing home devices such as televisions, computers or lamps near or under your thermostat.
Set your temperature as high as comfort will permit.
Consider installing awnings, shades or shutters over windows that are exposed to direct sunlight.
Keep kitchen and bath exhaust fan use to a minimum during summer months.
Draw blinds or drapes during peak daytime temperatures.
In moderate weather, consider opening windows instead of turning on the A/C.