Tips for a More Energy Efficient Home*

Energy Efficiency

There are many simple ways you can save energy (and money) in your home:
HeatingCoolingHot WaterAppliancesLighting | Electronics

Energy conservation also helps reduce pollution because most of the electricity in Colorado is produced by burning coal.


  • Use a programmable thermostat that can automatically adjust the temperature of your home while you're away.
  • Set your thermostat as low as comfortable (60 to 62 degrees F is suggested) when the house is occupied.
  • Set back the thermostat by as much as 10 F at night or when the house is unoccupied during the day.
  • Set back the thermostat to 50 to 55 F when the house is unoccupied for over 24 hours.
  • Close the fireplace damper – except during fireplace use.
    Reduce heat to unused rooms in the house – close doors and heat registers too.
  • Close curtains and shades at night.
  • Replace furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
  • Remove any obstructions and clean heating registers regularly.
  • Have certified maintenance personnel service and check your furnace regularly – every three years for gas-fired furnaces.
  • Seal all joints in sheet metal ducts in a forced air furnace with mastic or appropriate tape; insulate ducts passing through unheated spaces.
  • Minimize the use of kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans or install a timer switch on them.
  • Install insulating gaskets behind electrical outlets and switch plates on exterior walls.
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows - kits are readily available and easy to use.
  • Caulk and seal leaks where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, and ceilings.
  • Upgrade your home insulation: ceiling insulation to R-38 (higher R values mean greater insulation levels and thus more energy savings); exterior heated basement walls to at least R-11; floors over unheated areas to R-19.
  • Install storm windows or plastic insulation over single pane windows.
  • Replace your aging furnace with an energy efficient model.
  • Replace single pane windows with energy-efficient double pane windows.


  • Open windows at night to bring in cool night air; close them during the day.
  • Close drapes during the day.
  • Shade west-facing windows.
  • Draw cool night air into the house with a whole house fan. Install an evaporative cooler.
  • Use room air conditioning only where needed and install energy efficient models.
  • Install a central system air conditioner only when whole house air conditioning is needed.
  • Maintain an air conditioned house at 78 F or higher.
  • Regularly change air conditioning system filters and clean the condenser.
  • Plant deciduous shade trees on the west and south sides of your house.

Hot Water

  • Repair leaky faucets.
  • Reduce the temperature setting of your water heater to warm (120 F).
  • Wrap your water heater using an insulation kit and save on water heating costs.
  • Install low-flow showerheads.
  • Wash clothes in warm or cold water instead of hot water.
  • Replace water heater with an energy efficient model.

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  • Upgrade your refrigerator if it is 10 years old or older. Refrigerators use more energy than any other appliance in your home, but an Energy Star certified refrigerator uses about half the energy of a 10-year old conventional model.
  • Maintain refrigerator at 37 to 40 F and freezer section at 5 F; Maintain stand-alone freezers at 0 F.
  • Choose a refrigerator/freezer with automatic moisture control.
  • Run your washer and dryer only with a full load.
  • Use a drying rack to dry your clothes. In Colorado's dry climate, your clothing will air-dry in no time - no electricity required!
  • Use toaster ovens or microwave ovens for cooking small meals.
  • Adjust the flame on gas cooking appliances so it’s blue, not yellow.
  • Replace gas cooking appliances with units that use an automatic, electric ignition system.
  • Run the dishwasher only with a full load of dishes.
  • Air dry dishes in a dishwasher or drying rack.
  • Clean the lint filter on your dryer after every use and regularly inspect the dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked.
  • Replace aging major appliances with energy efficient models. Compare the annual energy consumption and operating cost for each appliance by looking at the bright-yellow and black Energy Guide label when shopping for new appliances.


  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Use task lighting (i.e. small lamps) whenever possible instead of brightly lighting an entire room.
  • Change a light bulb and save a bundle. Compact fluorescent bulbs are 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs - which means they use less electricity AND last longer.


  • Computers and monitors account for 2 percent of home energy consumption, so unplug them when not in use. You can also run an energy-efficient monitor program, free from Energy Star.
  • TVs, VCRs, DVDs and other electronics use another 2 percent of your home energy, so turn them off when not in use and try to reduce their use.
  • Unplug cell phone chargers when not charging the phone. Only 5 percent of the power drawn by cell phone chargers are actually used to charge phones. The other 95 percent is wasted when you leave it plugged into the wall, but not into your phone.
  • Select appliances (i.e., curling irons, coffee pots, irons) with timed shut-off switches.
  • Replace aging TVs and VCRs with energy efficient models. Compare the annual energy consumption and operating cost for each appliance by looking at the bright-yellow and black Energy Guide label when shopping for new appliances.

* Information courtesy of CSU Cooperative Extension.

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