Energy Savings in Houston
In addition to the energy savings Houston residents can gain by adding foam insulation to existing or new homes, there are a number of steps you can take to cut your energy usage and utility bills.
Install these energy-efficient measures:
- Replace and recycle your old refrigerator and purchase energy-efficient models. Units only 10 years can use twice as much as electricity as a newer models.
- Insulate ceilings to R-30 standards if your attic has less than R-19.
- Caulk windows, doors and anywhere air leaks in or out. Do not caulk around water heater and furnace exhaust pipes.
- Weatherstrip around windows and doors.
- Wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct wrap, or use mastic sealant.
- Install energy-saver showerheads.
- Put an insulating blanket around your water heater.
- When buying new appliances, be sure to purchase energy-efficient models.
- Set the furnace thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, and the air-conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, health permitting. Three to five percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace set above 68 and for each degree the air conditioner is set below 78.
- Use compact fluorescent lamps. You can lower your lighting bill by converting to energy-efficient low-wattage compact fluorescent lighting and fixtures.
- Replace old windows with new high performance windows.
- Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly, following manufacturer's instructions.
- Set the water heater thermostat at 140 degrees or "normal," if you have a dishwasher. Otherwise, set it at 120 degrees or "low". Check your dishwater to see if you can use 120 degree water. Follow the manufacturer's direction on yearly maintenance to extend the life of your unit, or "low."
- Close windows when heating or cooling.
- Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water.
- Wash only full loads in a dishwasher and use the shortest cycle that will get your dishes clean. If operating instructions allow, turn off the dishwasher before the drying cycle, open the door and let the dishes dry naturally.
- Defrost refrigerators and freezers before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick.
- Plan meals so you'll cook and bake several items at once. Preheat as little as possible.
- Do only full loads when using your clothes washer and dryer. Be sure to clean your clothes dryer's lint trap after each use. On sunny days, hang your clothes out to dry.
- Add extra blankets or insulated padding to waterbed mattresses to retain heat.
- Install shades, awnings or sun screens on windows facing south and/or west to block summer light. In winter, open shades on sunny days to help warm rooms.
- Close the damper when the fire place is not being used. Try not to use the fireplace and central heating system at the same time.
- When going on vacation, shut off or turn down automatic appliances, such as your water heater and furnace.