The start of the new year is the perfect time to make a commitment to save energy and money and help the environment. Make the resolution to be energy efficient this year. To help you get started on your journey we have put together 20 ways to save for the year.
Spring – Add energy savings to your spring cleaning list
- Clean the area around the outdoor components of your central air condition unit. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.
- Vacuum registers and vents regularly to remove any dust buildup. Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.
- Make sure your cooling system is operating efficiently and delivering the maximum energy savings by having a contractor do annual pre-season checkups. Contractors get busy once summer comes, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and DTE provides rebates to help offset the cost.
- Plant trees to shade windows or move container trees and plants in front of windows.
- Sealing air leaks around your home and adding insulation as needed can help your home be more comfortable and energy-efficient and save up to $200 on your annual energy bills. Simple fixes include installing weather stripping on doors and caulking around windows.
Summer – Stay cool and save
- Run your ceiling fan to create a cool breeze. If you raise your thermostat by only two degrees and use your ceiling fan, you can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent.
- Avoid activities that add heat and humidity to your home during the hottest parts of the day. Cook outside on the grill instead of using the oven whenever possible and postpone laundry and dishwashing until the evening when the outside air is cooler.
- Close the blinds and curtains on the south and west-facing windows to block out summer sunlight.
- If your central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR® certified model could cut your cooling costs by 30 percent.
- ENERGY STAR certified room air conditioners use about 10 percent less energy than standard models and on average, cost less than $70 per year to run. Also, position window air conditioners on the shaded side of the house, away from direct sunlight for efficient cooling.
Fall – Prepare for cold weather
- Install and properly set a programmable thermostat. With proper use, programmable thermostats can save about $180 every year in energy costs.
- Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. DTE provides rebates to help offset the cost of furnace or boiler tune-ups with combustion analysis! Contractors get busy once winter comes, so it’s best to check the heating system in the fall.
- The change of seasons is a great time to check your filter! At a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool – wasting energy.
- Switch to LEDs in time for Daylight Savings when shorter days mean lights will be staying on longer. LEDs use up to 90 percent less energy without sacrificing light output and can last up to 25 years longer.
- Check your ductwork for air leaks, especially at joints. It can improve the efficiency of your HVAC system by as much as 20 percent. Start by sealing air leaks, often found around the joints, using mastic sealant or metal tape, and insulating all the ducts that you can access (such as those in attics, crawlspaces, unfinished basements, and garages). Never use duct tape, as it is not long-lasting.
Winter – Stay warm and save
- You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit or as low as is possible while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home.
- On cold winter nights, put on a cozy sweater and warm socks. You can also add an extra blanket on the bed and lower your thermostat another degree or two to save even more.
- In the winter, keep drapes and blinds on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to warm your home and closed at night to reduce the chill and drafts.
- During the winter months, replace your screens with storm windows to provide an extra barrier to the cold outside air. If you don’t have storm windows and new energy-efficient windows aren’t in the budget, you can install low-cost, clear plastic window sheeting over leaking windows to keep cold air out. The plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
- Use LED Decorative Lighting – LEDs are exceptionally energy efficient when producing individual colors, many using up to 90 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light. For example, the amount of electricity consumed by just one seven-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs — enough to light two 24-foot strings.
Learn how to save even more at dteenergy.com/saveenergy.
Originally published Jan 3, 2018; revised Dec 20, 2021.