Government agencies, corporations, school districts and communities conduct energy audits to save money and resources. You can, too! Here are some things you should look for in your household:
- Are your coils clean? Vacuum your refrigerator's condenser coils once a year. Your refrigerator will run for shorter periods with clean coils.
- How cold is too cold? Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the fresh food compartment of your refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer section. If you have a separate freezer for long-term storage, it should be kept at 0°F.
- Which appliance is most efficient? When buying a new appliance, look for an ENERGY STAR label. You can find ENERGY STAR products at www.energystar.gov.
- Use it or lose it. Turn off lights in any room you're not using. Also, don't light an entire room. Focus task lighting where you need it.
- Better bulbs. Install compact fluorescent bulbs in place of existing incandescent bulbs when operation is more than two hours per day.
- Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
- Seal air leaks where ducts, plumbing, light fixtures or electrical wiring penetrate through exterior walls, floors and ceilings. Install rubber gaskets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls.
- Check it out. Set the thermostat to cooler temperatures in winter and warmer settings in summer when your home is unoccupied or when you're sleeping. (Setback may not be appropriate with heat pumps. Check with the equipment supplier or your service company).
- Replace or clean furnace air filter(s) once a month. Have your furnace serviced before each heating season to make sure it's operating safely and efficiently.
- Get outta here. Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans to pull out a houseful of cooled or warmed air. Turn fans off as soon as they've done the job.
- Turn blue! For gas appliances, look for blue flames Yellow flames mean the gas is burning inefficiently, and an adjustment may be needed. Consult your manufacturer or your local utility.
- Clean registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed. Make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
- Insulate and seal ducts in unconditioned areas such as attics and crawl spaces.
- Down the drain. Repair leaky faucets promptly. A leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short time.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has more suggestions.