Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC’s Division of Energy & Climate offers tips
for energy and money-saving spring home improvements
DOVER (April 11, 2016) – With spring flowers popping up and trees budding as winter’s chills subside, spring cleaning and home improvement projects are probably close to foremost on your mind. While you’re cleaning out closets, tidying storage areas and getting into those often-forgotten crevices of your home, the Delaware Division of Energy & Climate suggests some easy home improvement projects and everyday actions that will make your home more energy efficient. Making home updates while the weather is nice will help you use less energy and save more money now and in the months ahead.
• Remember that drafty window or door? Add weatherstripping or apply caulk to cracks to keep air conditioning in this summer and chills out next winter.
• Check window and door screens for needed repairs so you can enjoy the fresh spring air.
• Add insulation in attics, basements, crawl spaces and other areas to keep your home’s temperature regulated through seasonal ups and downs.
• Check to make sure your water heater and hot water pipes are well-insulated; if not, add pipe insulation or wrap-around insulation. Turn down the temperature on the water heater by 10 degrees (but no lower than 120 degrees) to avoid using excess energy by over-heating water.
• To save water and the cost of heating it, install flow-restrictors on faucets and shower heads.
• Weary from high winter energy costs? Consider replacing your old hot water heater or furnace with a more energy efficient model.
• No central AC? Replace that wheezing old window air conditioner with a more efficient energy-saving unit.
• Replace air filters and have your furnace or other primary HVAC unit cleaned and/or serviced for maximum efficiency and reliability.
• Add a programmable thermostat to your home’s HVAC system. You can set and forget it, so the thermostat will automatically adjust itself throughout the day. This way, you’re not heating/cooling an empty house when no one is home.
• Ceiling fans are a great addition to circulate air and keep cool, with or without AC.
• To reduce energy usage inside your home, turn off or unplug any appliances, electronic devices and chargers when they are not in use, and encourage family members to turn off lights when everyone leaves a room.
• When using the oven, plan to cook three or four items at a time for the same energy cost as one.
• Set your refrigerator at 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 10 degrees. Keep your freezer full, and try to cut down on how frequently you open refrigerator and freezer doors (the food is the same as it was last time you checked!)
• Run the washing machine or dishwasher only with full loads, and use warm water to wash and cold to rinse.
• Use the dryer only for full loads, and separate loads into heavy and lightweight items to avoid using the machine longer than necessary to dry each type. Dry loads directly one after the other; once the dryer is warm, it requires less initial energy to start up another load.
• Use a clothesline to hang laundry outside in dry weather. Use a drying rack inside for small or delicate items, or in bad weather.
• When purchasing new or replacing older appliances (heaters, refrigerators, etc.), look for the Energy Star rating or Energy Guide label. These appliances are verified energy-savers and could yield lower electricity costs to run.
Simple tips for family comfort:
• For cool spring nights, stay comfortable by putting on a sweater or warmer socks, and keep throws or blankets on the couch and in family rooms instead of turning up the heat.
• On warm days or nights, open windows to catch a breeze instead of turning on the AC. You’ll bring a breath of fresh air into your home and save energy.
• Pull shades or curtains at night to help keep cold out and open them during the day to let sun in.
Warmer, longer days also mean more time out and about, so don’t forget energy-saving habits for transportation!
• On warm days, open car windows to the fresh spring air instead of using the air conditioner.
• For better fuel economy, use your air conditioner only when absolutely necessary, and set the temperature higher and the blower lower for comfort.
• Save fuel through mindful driving habits: accelerate from stops slowly, drive at moderate, steady speeds, and avoid unnecessary braking by coasting to red lights and anticipating traffic speed changes.
• Avoid idling as much as possible. Idling wastes fuel and significantly contributes to air pollution.
• To save gas (and time), plan errands in a circular route starting and ending at home instead of traveling in random directions or making several trips.
• Plan for errands during the week, such as picking up grocery items along the route you take home from work or school.
• Combine car trips with family, friends or neighbors; join a carpool or use public transportation if available.
• Smaller cars with smaller engines typically get better fuel mileage, so if you have more than one vehicle, research the average fuel efficiency of each and use the most efficient one most frequently.
• Looking to purchase or lease a new vehicle? Electric and alternative fuel vehicles are cleaner, cheaper to fuel, and often require less maintenance than gasoline cars. The Division of Energy & Climate offers rebates to purchasers or leasees of these vehicles in Delaware, and other manufacturer rebates and federal tax credits may be available. For more information on clean vehicle rebates, visit de.gov/cleantransportation.
For more information on the Division of Energy & Climate and its programs, including the online Energy Savers Guide, visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/energy or call 302-735-3480.
Vol. 46, No. 121