Lower the temperature of your water heater: The temperature setting can be adjusted on both gas and electric water heaters which can save approximately 3% to 5% for each 10F reduction. Factory settings are typically dialed to 140F; however, the typical household only requires a setting of 120F. A fringe benefit of this change is that lowering the water temperature also slows mineral buildup and corrosion in the water heater and pipes.
Change your light bulbs: Getting rid of standard incandescent bulbs and replacing them with Energy Start qualified CFL light bulbs is an excellent way to reduce energy consumption by lights by approximately 75%. In addition, the bulbs last about 10 times longer than standard light bulbs and can save about $30 or more over the course of the bulb's lifetime. Switching to CFL light bulbs yields excellent savings with minimal investment beyond the standard pricing of light bulbs.
Check your ducts: Regardless of the age of your home, chances are your duct work could use an examination of its sealing. This is especially true for duct work in attics. If you duct work is leaking, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars in lost heating and cooling in your home. If you have ducts that need to be sealed, obtain a referral from an auditor affiliated with NATE (North American Technician Excellence) or certified with the ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America). Using either of these associations will give you the quality craftsmanship and service that is needed for this type of work and will make your investment into this upgrade worth it.
Unplug your appliances: There are several appliances in your home that have a tendency to suck energy even when not in use or powered up. These appliances include televisions, DVD players, digital video recorders (DVRs), printers, fax machines and computers. The best way to go about managing these appliances is to use a power strip. Whenever possible, plug all appliances in an area into the power strip. When you leave the home for the day, simply unplug the power strip, which in turn unplugs all the appliances. This prevents you from having to go around and individually unplug each appliance.
Upgrade your refrigerator: Refrigerators can be very taxing on energy. Upgrading to an Energy Star model requires about half as much energy as standard models, particularly those manufactured prior to 1993. In addition, shop for a refrigerator model that uses a top freezer as opposed to a side by side freezer, which uses about 10 to 15 percent more energy. In addition, a good way to conserve on energy is to avoid features such as through the door ice and water dispensers.