Dryer Vents: Cleaning out your dryer vent duct yearly and making sure it is only as long as it needs to be will help your clothes dry faster and reduce a fire hazard. First, pull your dryer out from the wall, disconnect the duct from the dryer and vacuum it out. If you had a lot of slack in the duct after pulling it out, then trim the duct length so that it’s just long enough for you to pull the dryer a few feet out from the wall. Be careful not to crimp the duct pushing it back in.
Refrigerator Coils: You should clean off the coils on your refrigerator at least twice a year. The dust that builds up on them makes it harder for the heat to dissipate which causes it to run harder than needed. While you are cleaning the coils, it would be a good time to change out the water filter on it – most filters are not effective after 6 months of use.
HVAC Filters: The Filters need to be changed about every month, this helps the unit run more efficiently and prevent pre-mature failure by over working that motor trying to pull air through a dirty filter. To help remember, try and pick the same day each month to do it. Some newer digital thermostats will even have and indicator alerting you when it’s time to change the filter.
Ductwork: If your ductwork leaks then you are probably loosing air that you have paid to heated or cool into wall cavities and other unconditioned spaces. There are numerous companies out there that will test your duct leakage and fix it. If you are handy and don’t mind crawling around in your crawl space or attic, you can fix and detect some of the major areas that might need fixing. Make sure that you either use the proper duct mastic or UL 181 Aluminum tape to seal the cracks & holes. (No, regular duct tape is not for ductwork, but you can make a cool wallet out of it)
Water Heater: Check the temperature that your water heater is maintaining your water temperature. If you find that you are always mixing cold water with your hot water to get it to a comfortable temperature, then you are wasting money by cooling the water you just paid to heat. Find a comfortable temperature and set the water heater to that.
Drips and Leaks: You can easily have 100’s of gallons or more of water going down the drain each month by not fixing leaking plumbing fixtures or lines. If the water is leaking elsewhere, for instance around a toilet, under the house, etc… you may end up with major rot and/or mold issues that need to be dealt with which can easily run into the thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. A running toilet can easily send $50 a month down the drain.
Lighting: Consider changing out your bulbs to low consumption LED bulbs. Today’s LED bulbs are much better at color rendering and come in different color temperatures such as soft white. But, if you’re still stuck on the old incandescent bulbs consider a dimmer. Dimming a bulb by half saves 40% electricity and extends bulb life by 20 fold!
Do you have an energy hog in the garage: Older fridges are energy hogs and can run you up to $200 a year. There are plenty of people that will pick them up for free or even pay you for them. If you do have an appliance that is older than 9 years of age and is starting to go, consider getting a newer Energy Star rated one.