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Energy Efficiency

We want to help you save time, energy and money! Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, you will spend 45 percent of your utility bill on heating and cooling. By following a few simple tips, you can cut your energy use and reduce environmental emissions, from 20 percent to 50 percent this year.

Picture of Wind Turbines

Three Easy DIY Projects to Save Energy
By Abby Berry

Winter weather can have a big impact on your energy bills, hitting your pockets a little harder than you would have liked. Now that spring is just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to tackle a few DIY efficiency projects for your home. The good news: You don’t have to be an energy expert to do this!  There are several easy ways to save energy, but if you’re willing to take a hands-on approach, here are three projects you can do now to start saving.

Make the Most of Your Water Heater.
    Let’s start with one of the easiest projects: insulating your water heater. Insulating a water heater that’s warm to the touch can save 7 to 16 percent annually on your water heating bills. It should also be noted that if your water heater is new, it is likely already insulated. But if your water heater is warm to the touch, it needs additional insulation.
    You can purchase a pre-cut jacket or blanket for about $20. You’ll also need two people for this project. Before you start, turn off the water heater. Wrap the blanket around the water heater and tape it to temporarily keep it in place. If necessary, use a marker to note the areas where the controls are so you can cut them out. Once the blanket is positioned correctly tape it permanently in place, then turn the water heater back on. If you have an electric water heater, do not set the thermostat above 130 degrees, which can cause overheating. 

Seal Air Leaks with Caulk.
    The average American family spends $2,000 annually on energy bills, but unfortunately, much of that money is wasted through air leaks in the home. Applying caulk around windows, doors, electrical wiring and plumbing can save energy and money. There are many different types of caulking compounds available, but the most popular choice is silicone. Silicone caulk is waterproof, flexible and won’t shrink or crack. 
    Before applying new caulk, clean and remove any old caulk or paint with a putty knife, screwdriver, brush or solvent. The area should be dry before you apply the new caulk. 
Apply the caulk in one continuous stream, and make sure it sticks to both sides of the crack or seam. Afterwards, use a putty knife to smooth out the caulk, then wipe the surface with a dry cloth. 

Weather Strip Exterior Doors.
    One of the best ways to seal air leaks is to weatherstrip exterior doors, which can keep out drafts and help you control energy costs. Weather stripping materials vary, but you can ask your local hardware or home store for assistance if you’re unsure about the supplies you need. 
    When choosing weather stripping materials, make sure it can withstand temperature changes, friction, and the general “wear and tear” for the location of the door. Keep in mind, you will need separate materials for the door sweep (at the bottom of the door) and the top and sides. 
    Before applying the new weather stripping, clean the molding with water and soap, then let the area dry completely. Measure each side of the door, then cut the weather stripping to fit each section. Make sure the weather stripping fits snugly against both surfaces so it compresses when the door is closed. 

By completing these simple efficiency projects, you can save energy (and money!) while increasing the comfort level of your home. And you can impress your family and friends with your savvy energy-saving skills.

Fast and Free
The average home spends hundreds of dollars a year on energy costs. But you can lower your energy bills and help save the environment at the same time!
  • Ceiling fans are everyone's favorite summer budget-saver.
    • But they can help out in the winter as well! Have your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction so they push hot air along the ceiling towards the floor. If they're going counterclockwise, they won't be as effective.
  • Eliminate wasted energy
    • Turn off appliances, lights and equipment when not in use (Save: 2%)
    • Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they aren't in use-most electronics use electricity even when switched "off".  Turn computers and printers off at the power strip.
    • Unplug and recycle that spare refrigerator in the garage if you don't really need it.

Inexpensive Energy Solutions
Make a quick trip to your local hardware store to purchase inexpensive energy-saving tools and equipment.
  • Draft Guards
    • Reducing the draft at the doorways can help keep heat from escaping your home and money from your pocket.
  • Replace air conditioner filters
    • Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit.
  • Plug your home's leaks
    • Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.
  • Choose ENERGY STAR® products
    • Buy ENERGY STAR® certified table lamps and light fixtures, and replace your incandescent light bulbs that are used more than two hours per day with ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent bulbs. For example, install compact fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs in your porch light if you leave it on overnight.
    • Install an ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostat. (Save: 1-3 %)

Good Energy Saving Investments

Planning to do some remodeling soon? Time to replace old appliances? Consider these energy efficiency suggestions when you make purchases.

  • Invest in a new air-conditioning unit
    • If your air conditioner is on the way out, buy an ENERGY STAR® air conditioner. (Save: up to 10 percent)
    • REA does have Rebates available for upgrading your HVAC System
  • Seal your ducts
    • Leaking ductwork accounts for 25 % of cooling costs in an average home, so have your ducts tested and have any leaks or restrictions repaired by a qualified contractor. Note: duct cleaning is not the same as duct sealing. 
  • Replace your refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR® model
    • Refrigerators with a top or bottom freezer design can save you an additional 2-3% on your bill compared to a side-by-side design.
  • Increase attic insulation
    • If existing insulation level is R-19 or less, consider insulating your attic to at least R-30.
  • Install ENERGY STAR® windows
    • If your windows are due for replacement, ENERGY STAR® windows can make your house more comfortable year-round.

Lighting Tips
  • Become familiar with the Lighting Facts Label printed on most light bulb packages.  The label will enable you to compare bulbs for light output, operating cost, life expectancy and more.

  • Select the bulb best suited for your particular use.  Some are specially designed for use with dimmers, recessed fixtures or frequent switching.

  • Commit to purchasing a more efficient option each time a bulb goes out.


Conservation Tip 

Voluntarily conserving power during peak-use hours (Beat The Peak) (3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., every day except Sundays, the 4th of July, and Labor Day) between June 20th and September 9th can make a difference by lowering demand and ultimately your own power cost. 


Some important conservation actions you can take during peak hours include:

  • Setting your air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees or higher

  • Turning off unused lights, computers, and entertainment systems

  • Limiting use of large appliances (washer, dryer, oven and dishwasher)

  • Avoiding use of any equipment that uses a lot of electricity