Energy Saving Tips Whether you're looking to stay cool during the hot summer months or warm during the long New England winter, we've got tips that'll help you save money while staying comfortable. Fall & Winter Spring & Summer Bill's Bright Ideas Set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees when you are home and lower the temperature when you go to bed or when you are not at home. This will ensure optimal home heating and save energy. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you save about two percent off your heating bill. Cut annual heating bills by as much as 10 percent a year by turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 percent for eight hours a day. Weatherize your home by caulking and weather-stripping all doors and windows. Also use locks on your windows to make them tighter and draft resistant. Insulate or increase the amount of insulation in your attic, basement and outside walls. Also cover through-the-wall air conditioners to prevent cold air from leaking into your home. Reducing air leaks could cut 10 percent from an average household's monthly energy bill. The most common places where air escapes homes are: floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents and electrical outlets. Keep shades and curtains open during the day on the south side of your home to allow solar heating. Close them at night to retain heat. Don't block your radiators or heating vents with furniture or draperies. Keep your radiators, registers and baseboard heaters dirt- and dust-free. Close vents and doors in unused rooms. Have your heating system serviced once a year and regularly replace furnace filters. During the heating season, change or clean furnace filters once a month. Close the fireplace damper when not in use. Place a sheet of aluminum foil between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat back into the room. Replacing your old central air conditioner with a new ENERGY STAR qualified model can reduce your cooling costs by 20 percent. If possible, keep your room air conditioner out of the sun. Room air conditioners work best when kept cool. Installing one in a north-facing wall is usually ideal. If you have central air conditioning, keep your thermostat at 78 degrees. You can also save approximately an additional six to seven percent off your cooling costs for each degree above 78. If your air conditioner does not have a thermostat, adjust it to a lower setting, or combine using it with a window or ceiling fan to cool things down. Consider installing a ceiling fan. During hot weather a ceiling fan will create a cool breeze and keep the air circulating in your home. Get rid of hot air. Use an exhaust fan to blow hot air out of your kitchen while you’re cooking. The savings on your cooling costs far outweigh the electricity used by the fan. Also, take lukewarm showers and baths to avoid humid air, which holds more heat. Close blinds, drapes and shades during the hottest part of the day. This keeps the strong sunlight from heating your home. Use your microwave or countertop appliances for cooking instead of the oven or stove. Instead of using your oven or stove, which can generate heat on an already hot day, fire up the outdoor grill for cooking. You can also use your microwave or other countertop appliances in place of the stove or oven. Postpone laundry and dishwashing until nighttime to avoid generating extra heat in your home. Also, consider taking advantage of the warmer air and dry your laundry outside. Don’t forget about your own energy. Wearing lighter clothing can help cool you down without turning on the air conditioner. Also, remember to stay hydrated during extreme temperatures. If you have a pool, turn off your filter overnight when the pool is not in use. Frosty October nights, and chilly mornings, signal the start of the seasonal indoor migration for folks all across New England. This is the month when households across our region are engaging in the sometimes contentious debate about when is the right time to turn on the heat? Is the decision in your home based on the date, the temperature, or perhaps the condition of your old heating system? Did you have your fingers crossed last year hoping your heating system would survive the winter? Well, now's a good time to change out that old heating system with a new, high efficiency one. Mass Save has rebates of up to $3,500 as part of the early boiler replacement program, and 0 percent financing to help you upgrade your heating system and save on heating costs. To see if you’re eligible for an early heating or cooling equipment replacement rebate, contact Mass Save at 866-527-SAVE (7283) to schedule your no-cost Mass Save Home Energy Assessment or Site Visit prior to removing your old equipment and installing your new efficient equipment. As temperatures drop, folks typically start taking longer, hotter showers. There’s often an increase in laundry loads, too, with school clothes and sports uniforms to wash. Indoor dining tends to create more dishes in the sink and dishwasher. With water heating typically accounting for about 18 percent of a home’s energy use, it pays to heat and use it more efficiently. Ways to cut your water heating bills: Consider upgrading your clothes washer. The EPA’s ENERGY STAR program says you could fill three backyard swimming pools with the water saved over the life of a new ENERGY STAR certified washer. By replacing a washer that’s over 10 years old, you can save over $135 per year. Wash clothes in cold water and run full loads of laundry. Turn down the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F. You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands. Consider purchasing an ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher that uses about 30 percent less energy and water. Consider replacing an inefficient water heater with an energy efficient model. Another energy saving tip is to install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads. Also, be sure to repair leaky faucets promptly. A leaky faucet can waste gallons of water in a short period of time. As nights get longer, you can light your home with the same amount of light for less money by switching to energy-efficient lighting. It’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to cut your energy bills. Begin your fall energy savings campaign by scheduling a no-cost Mass Save Home Energy Assessment. As part of the inspection the energy specialist will replace existing lightbulbs with energy efficient bulbs; install aerating faucets and showerheads; test your heating system to make sure it’s running efficiently; help you get your home buttoned up against the cold; and let you know about the programs and rebates for which you may qualify. A small investment of your time getting a no-cost home energy assessment can save a significant amount of energy and money, while bringing you something you can’t put a price on—peace of mind.