Energy Saving Tips For Your Home
Imagine if everyone on our planet vowed to be more energy efficient and took just one single step to help support improving and conserving our environment. Wow, what a difference we all could make together by making a small change. It is our mission to support our environment and we're actively taking steps to ensure we can reduce our carbon footprint for future generations of New Mexico. You can help too by taking some very simple steps to make your home more energy efficient throughout the year and, you will see some nice savings on your energy bill too! Here are several tips you can get started, no matter what time of the year it is.
Everyday Energy Saving Tips
- Get started with a comprehensive energy use analysis of your home. You will learn personalized ways to save energy based on how you use energy in your home. Just answer a few easy questions and get a free customized list of the changes you can make to help make your home more energy efficient through the PNM Home Energy Analyzer. You can also get a more in-depth assessment by participating in the PNM Home Energy Checkup program.
- Unplug Devices. Don't waste your money on electronics and appliances that you don't use every day. Turn off and unplug unused televisions and DVD players, computers, phone chargers, coffee makers and other devices.
- Let the Refrigerator Breathe. Give your refrigerator some breathing room by cleaning the condenser coils located on the back or bottom of your refrigerator every three months. This will allow for maximum heat transfer and to keep the condenser from overworking. Also, keep the refrigerator temperature at or below 40° F (4° C) and the freezer temperature should be 0° F (-18° C) as these are the recommended temperatures for storing food safely. If you are buying a new refrigerator, look for an ENERGY STAR® model that uses less energy. And, remember to recycle your old refrigerator through the PNM Refrigerator Recycling program.
- Use Cold Water when Washing Clothes. Wash full loads of laundry using cold water. Many laundry detergents work great in cold water, and about 90 percent of the energy used by clothes washers goes to water heating.
- Preheating the Oven is a Thing of the Past. Did you know that it's not necessary to preheat the oven before you bake or broil something? Preheating is unnecessary for many types of baking. If what you are baking will take more than a full hour to bake, it can be placed in a cold oven.
- Cooking for One or Two? Consider using small appliances like toaster ovens, convection ovens and electric frying pans when you only need to cook a small amount of food. These appliances use about one-third the energy it takes to heat your standard oven.
- Small Changes Lead to Big Results. Try installing energy-saving showerheads, faucets or flow restrictors. Install dimmer switches or timers on your lights and replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs. These give the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer. On average residential customer can save about $6 per month by installing energy efficient lighting throughout the home. Take advantage of the PNM instant discounts on lighting and many other energy efficient devices for your home. Visit the PNM Instant Discount Program.
Spring and Summer Energy Saving Tips
- Use a Programmable Thermostat. Cooling your home can add up to about 50 percent of your electric bill in the summer. Set your thermostat as high as comfort permits. Save two to four percent on electricity for every degree higher the thermostat is set. Consider using a programmable thermostat to automatically have it do all the work for you. Set your cooling thermostat as high as comfort permits. The higher the setting, the more energy you'll save which will cost you less in energy bills.
- Crack the Windows if you have an Evaporative Cooler. When using evaporative (swamp) coolers, make sure to crack open some windows. About an inch or two of air space should be enough to create an effective cross breeze. The more humid the air in the house is, the less effective the evaporative cooler will be. Keeping a few windows cracked lets dry air in and damp air out. If you're looking to get a new air conditioner, be sure to take advantage of the PNM Cooling Rebates program.
- Air Conditioner Maintenance is a Must. Servicing your air conditioner by performing general maintenance such as replacing, or cleaning air filters can lower your cooling system's energy consumption by up to 15 percent. Add a calendar reminder for the first day of spring to check your air conditioner's evaporator coil. This should be cleaned annually to ensure the system is performing optimally.
- Use Your Ceiling Fans to Offset Cooling Costs. Cooling your home with ceiling fans will allow you to raise your thermostat four degrees. This can help lower your electricity bills without sacrificing overall comfort. In the summer, they should be turning counterclockwise so air pushes downward, making the home feel cooler. Make sure to turn off the ceiling fans when house is empty. Remember to switch your ceiling to rotate counterclockwise in the summer so the blades push cooler air down in the room. This simple step can help with circulating the cooler air in the room and also save you money on your electric bill because your air conditioner doesn't have to work so hard to cool your home.
- Use Natural Lighting. If it's not in use, turn off the juice and use natural light as much as possible in the spring and summer months. We¿re fortunate to live in a part of the country that offers nearly 280 days of beautiful sunshine.
- Install Energy Efficient Window Treatments. Energy efficient window treatments or coverings such as blinds, shades and films can help reduce the heat when temperatures rise. These window treatments can improve the look of your home and reduce your energy costs.
- Seal Those Ducts. Air loss through ducts can lead to high energy costs, accounting for nearly 30 percent of a cooling system's energy consumption. By sealing and insulating your ducts you can lower your energy bills.
Fall and Winter Energy Saving Tips
- Use Your Ceiling Fans to Offset Heating Costs. Ceiling fan direction in the winter should be switched to clockwise and be sure to set the fan at the lowest speed. This will allow the fan to pull cool air up toward the ceiling, which in turn displaces the warm air that rises and collects near the ceiling. If you have high ceiling, this is especially important to do in the winter season because it moves the warmer air trapped at the top of the room down and allows the air to flow toward the floor and along the walls therefore making the room feel warmer, allowing you to lower the thermostat. This simple step can help with circulating the warmer air in the room and save you money on your electric bill.
- Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows. Installing tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing will help keep warm air from escaping, therefore keeping your rooms nice and warm.
- Storm Windows Offer Your Home Benefits. Even high-quality windows in good repair should have storm windows. They provide a second layer of glass and a dead-air space between the panes to retain the heat. If you can, this measure will help you save on your energy bill and keep your home comfortable during colder day.
- Clean or Replace Furnace Filters. Remember to clean or replace your furnace filters every three months. Dirty filters cause the motor on your furnace and air conditioner system to work harder and become less efficient. This simple measure will keep your furnace working optimally for every season.
- Install a Smart Thermostat. Installing a smart thermostat is a smart thing to do for your home. ENERGY STAR® estimates that you can save as much as 10 percent on heating and cooling costs by properly using a smart or programmable thermostat to manage heating and cooling your home. Plus, a smart or programmable thermostat can makes it easy to set back your temperature. If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps. Learn more about the energy efficiency programs for smart thermostats by visiting our Cooling and Heat Pumps page.
- Seal Cracks, Gaps, and Air Leaks. Reduce your heating costs by sealing cracks and gaps. Add weather stripping & caulking around all doors and windows, and attic entryways to reduce air leaks. Seal the air leaks around all the utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around fireplace chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind your kitchen cupboards, bathroom cabinets and closets.
Find out how to detect air leaks in your home.
Learn more about air sealing your existing home with these helpful tips from Energy.gov.
- Clean the Flue on Wood and Pellet Burning Heaters. Regular maintenance of your wood and pellet-burning heaters is important. Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently.
- Check Your Heating System Every Year. Have your heating system checked by a professional at the beginning of the heating season. That will help make sure it's operating as efficiently as possible. Take advantage of PNM Energy Efficiency programs available to you for a thorough home energy checkup.
- Decorative Lighting: Using LED string lights or laser light projectors may be a safer approach to holiday home decorating. One benefit is that LED string lights are cheaper than old incandescent lights. Also, the outdoor colorful laser projectors that shine holiday lights and shapes on your home use less energy and can save you money on your electric bill. Not to mention, they take up less room to store and are safer than climbing on the roof. Learn more about the advantages of LED lighting and why they are safer, sturdier, and longer lasting. Also, we offer instant discounts on lighting and many other household items, just visit the PNM Energy Efficiency Instant Discounts page.
More Tips for Saving Energy and Money
Energy Saver Guide - Department of Energy