There are a many things we can do to help lower our energy costs. Some can be done right away.
Shop locally and walk whenever possible.
Use public transportation.
If you need to drive, car pool if possible and run all of your errands at one time.
For optimum gasoline mileage, keep your tires properly inflated.
Keep your car serviced with clean filters and oil for optimum mileage.
Keep air conditioner use to a minimum.
Do not let your car idle.
Unplug electronics, such as appliances, and televisions when not in use.
Keep refrigerator coils clear of obstacles.
Shut lights off when a room is not in use.
Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps and save $30 to $40 over the life of the bulb.
Use a toaster oven rather than a conventional.
Wash only full loads of dishes. Air drying dishes can cut energy use by one half.
Wash only full loads of clothes and air dry.
Heating water can account for 15% of your energy costs. Install low-flow shower heads and fix leaky faucets. The Boston Water and Sewer Commission provides free water saving kits upon request.
Repair leaky faucets. A steady drip of hot water can waste many gallons of water and the energy it takes to heat them.
Use ceiling fans and/or window fans to keep air circulating.
Close blinds in south facing windows during the day.
Keep central air conditioning at 78 degrees: save 6% to 7% for every degree above 78 degrees.
Purchase air conditioners with programmable thermostats and install in a north-facing window.
Keep air conditioners away from lights or other heat sources.
In the summer install white window shades or blinds to reflect heat away.
Purchase a programmable thermostat for heating and cooling and save up to $100 per year. Keep thermostats clear of heat sources such as lamps and television sets.
Set your heat no higher than 68 degrees* during the day and lower it in the evening.
Set your water heater between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap it in an insulating blanket; be sure to check the manual and labels on the tank first.
Make sure your storm windows are in place to keep heat inside.
Do not block radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies and keep vents clear of dust.
Keep shades open during the day and closed in the evening to retain heat.
An open fireplace damper acts like an open window. Close it when not in use, or install tempered glass doors.
Have your heating system serviced once a year and regularly replace furnace filters and save up to 5% on your heating costs.
Plug home leaks: install weather-stripping and caulk all doors and windows, and install gaskets behind outlet covers. For less than $20 in materials, you can save 20% of your heating bill.
Install insulation in crawl spaces, attics, walls, and basements.
* Landlords are required to provide specific heat levels under the State Sanitary Code.