Energy Survey


1. Plan ahead what you need from the refrigerator before opening the door. This saves energy by keeping the time the door is open as short as possible

2. Check to see if your refrigerator door seals properly. Get a slip of paper, or a dollar bill will work. Close the door on the paper, then see if you can pull it out easily. If it pulls right out, your door may need new seals or the refrigerator may need to be replaced. If it sticks snugly in place and you have to tug to get it out, that means the door seals are working properly.

3. Keep doors to the outside closed when the heat or air conditioning is on. Each time you open a door while the heating or cooling system is operating, lots of expensive heated or cooled air escapes. That's why it helps to close them quickly when you come in or go out of the house.

4. Check to see if energy-efficient compact fluorescents will fit in your home's most often used lamps. Count how many places in your home will take these new lamps, then ask your parents if you can start replacing old incandescent light bulbs with the new compact fluorescents. They cost more to purchase, but you get the money back because they use only one-quarter as much energy as incandescent light bulbs. Plus they last up to 10 times longer so they are a good investment.

5. Ask an adult how often your home's air filters are changed. They are usually located in the heating or cooling unit, but are sometimes in a register at the end of an air duct. They should be changed at the beginning of each heating and cooling season if your home has central air conditioning.

6. Learn where in your home the thermostat is located. With the help of an adult, check the temperature setting. In the winter, it should be set at the lowest temperature that keeps the house comfortable. Many recommend trying to keep it at 68°F. Similarly, in the summer, it should be set at the highest comfortable setting. Try for 78°F.

7. With a parent, find your home's water heater and have them place their hand on its side. Is it warm to the touch? If it is, it is losing heat through its sides that is supposed to stay in your home's hot water. Ask your parents about installing an insulating blanket around the tank. Some utilities offer rebates or incentives to insulate your water heater and reduce this wasteful heat loss.

8. Again, with the help of an adult, check the temperature of your home's hot water. You can do this at the kitchen sink. Let the hot water run until it gets hot. Fill a glass with hot water and put a thermometer into the water and see how hot it is. (Make sure it is a thermometer made for measuring high temperatures, not the kind for taking people's temperature.) Most homes can get by with the water heater set to provide 120°F water. If your hot water is hotter than 120°F, check with your parents about turning the water heater's setting down to the lowest setting that still provides sufficient hot water.

9. Check each sink in your home to see if there are any leaks. While every leak is bad because it wastes precious water, hot water leaks are especially bad because they waste water AND the heat that made it warm. Alert an adult to any leaks you find so they can arrange to fix them.

10. If you have a fireplace in your home, ask an adult to check to see if the damper is open or closed. If it is open when the heating or cooling system is on, it lets expensive heated or cooled air escape up the chimney.

11. If your home has ceiling fans, make sure they are "off" when no one is in the room. Quiz your family members to see if they know to turn fans off when no one is in a room. This is a common misconception. Fans running when no one is there do no good at all. As a matter of fact, they actually warm the room because the fan motor gives off heat as it operates. Fans only make you feel cool by blowing air across your skin. So when no one is there to appreciate the moving air, make sure they are turned off.

12. Take a close look at your home's windows. Are they single panes of glass, or can you see two glass panes? Some homes in very cold climates even have three panes of glass to reduce heat loss out the windows. If your home has only a single pane, you may be able to save on heating and cooling bills by adding storm windows.

13. In the winter, keep the windows covered with drapes or blinds to reduce heat flowing out through them. These window coverings add insulation to the glass and make it harder for your home's heat to escape through them. If the windows face south, east or west, open the curtains when the sun shines through the windows. Sun shining in through windows is essentially free heat. Windows that face north don't get direct sunlight, so keeping them covered as much as possible in the winter makes sense.

14. While you are looking at your home's windows, is there a way to shade them or keep the sunlight out during the cooling season? See if there are awnings on the outside or drapes or blinds on the inside that can be used to block the sun.

Do a quick walk through of your home to see if there are appliances on that are not needed like a TV that nobody is watching or lights on when no one is there.

So, how'd you do? If you completed 10 or more of the Energy Efficiency Home Survey, you are a real energy trooper!

Click on the picture below to get your Energy Super Saver Certificate.