Did you know that the average Pennsylvania household spends about $2,500 annually on home energy costs? Improving energy efficiency in our homes and businesses can save us money while making our homes more comfortable and protecting the climate by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Try these ideas to get started! If they’re working, your electric/gas bill will go down. If your electric/gas bill doesn’t go down, try one of the other tips.
Easy Ways to Save Energy (and Money) at Home
1. How much fossil fuel energy are you using?
A PECO energy audit will assess your home and suggest improvements that will save you energy and money. The $49 audit is free to low income individuals and can be in-person or virtual using a smart phone. You’ll get free energy-saving products, such as LED bulbs and smart power strips, and a list of PECO-vetted contractors.
PECO also has complimentary assessments for multifamily residences and businesses.
|| In Pennsylvania, we can choose an energy supplier other than PECO and still get billed the usual way. Some suppliers provide 100% renewable energy at a lower price than PECO, while others provide 100% renewable energy produced in Pennsylvania. Go to papowerswitch.com and shop around. Watch this video to get started.
||By replacing five of your home’s most frequently used traditional bulbs with LEDs, you can save as much as $75 each year. LEDs last almost indefinitely, come in an array of shapes, colors, and light levels, and are often dimmable.
Look for PECO discounts online and at many big box and hardware stores.
2. Weatherize your home
Did you know that the gaps around the windows and doors in an average American house add up to the equivalent of a 3-foot by 3-foot hole in the wall? Caulk and weather-strip gaps around windows and doors to seal off air leaks. Attach “sweeps” or “shoes” to the bottom of outside doors to stop heated or cooled air from escaping. Use window putty to seal gaps around loose window panes.
Installing or increasing insulation can improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. Focus on the attic, under floors, around the hot water heater and pipes, and in crawl spaces. Even something as simple as covering bare floors with rugs can help. Replacing old leaky windows with high efficiency ones is a pricier upgrade but can make a very big difference in reducing costs and improving comfort
Energy Star’s home improvement section has a wealth of information about making your home more comfortable while saving energy, money, and the planet.
3. What about your laundry, water heater, and other appliances?
Run the washing machine with full loads and use cold water except for your dirtiest loads.
Clothes dryers use much more energy than any other appliance in your home. Use a drying rack or clothesline whenever you can.
If you can’t:
- dry full loads
- clean the lint filter before each use
- use the auto-dry or moisture-sensor setting instead of the timer
- if a washer load seems too wet, try spinning it again at a higher speed to remove as much water as possible before drying.
Let the dishes air dry instead of using your dishwasher’s heated drying cycle, which uses more energy than the rest of the cycle.
Use a meat or candy thermometer to check the temperature of your hot water after running it until it’s at its hottest. The recommended maximum safe temperature is 120 degrees. If it’s higher, turn down the temperature on your hot water heater. Not only will you save money, but you’ll avoid the danger of scalding.
When your water heater needs replacing, consider an “instant” hot water heater. It saves money.
4. Use a programmable thermostat
Even with the most efficient air conditioner or heater, the settings you use determine your energy costs. Do you really need to wear sweaters in August or T-shirts in January? Set your thermostat to 68 in the winter and 78 in the summer. Invest in a simple programmable thermostat to automatically turn down the heat or AC when no one’s home and during the night.
5. Choose ENERGY STAR appliances
Inefficient heating and cooling appliances (boilers, furnaces, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, etc.) use a lot of energy. When it’s time, replace them with a more efficient Energy Star model. Even if they cost a little more, you will save much more over their lifetime. Many of them are eligible for PECO rebates.
6. Use less water
Our area usually gets plenty of rain so why should we worry about our water use? Good question! It takes energy to transport water, heat it for bathing and washing dishes, and treat it so we can drink it. That adds up to a lot of energy. Fixing faucet and toilet leaks and replacing old toilets with modern ones that use MUCH less water can make a big difference in your water bill.
Click here for more information from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
7. Game console energy consumption
How you use your game console affects how much energy it uses. For example, streaming video through your game console uses 10 to 25 times more energy than a streaming device like Roku. In addition, new X-boxes are factory set to “instant on.” Changing it to “energy saving” will save money. This article explains more about the energy usage of game consoles.
- 40 tips to reduce energy use from the Academy of Natural Sciences
- Great tips from a local group on saving electricity, heating fuel, and much more
- PECO has lots of rebates and programs to help you save energy, money, and the planet. Start with a free or low-cost ($49), home energy audit that includes free energy-saving products like LED bulbs, smart power strips, and discounts on energy saving improvements.
- PA Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Grants for eligible households to pay heating bills and replace heating equipment in emergency situations.
- PA Weatherization Assistance Program
Free weatherization audit and funds for qualified low-income households to assist in reducing air-leakage, insulation, heating system modification or replacement.
- PA DEP Home Heating, Efficiency, and Conservation
Portal to PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) web resources to learn more about saving energy for homes and businesses. Learn more about EnergyStar and ways to pay for energy efficiency upgrades.
How to pay for renewable energy and efficiency up-grades
- Local Incentives: Comprehensive site for PA residents.
- State Incentives: DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.
- Energy Star certifies the most energy efficient products. Look for the energy star label when you purchase just about anything for your business or home - from refrigerators to water heaters to central air conditioning units. You’ll save money running these products and protect our climate at the same time. Sometimes, PECO will even give you a rebate on Energy Star products.
For commercial properties, there’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a tool to track energy use, water use, and/or waste materials.
- Green Building United promotes the development of buildings that are sustainable, healthy for inhabitants, resilient, and cost effective. The Philadelphia Chapter of the US Green Building Council/LEED Registrar provides a searchable database of energy efficiency companies in the region.
- Passive House Institute: A building standard that yields aggressive but attainable climate-specific building energy performance targets that substantially cut carbon emissions and energy consumption in buildings to provide superb comfort, superior indoor air quality, and resilience.