Tips and Projects for Energy Saving and Conservation
Cedar Falls Utilities encourages customers to make wise energy choices. Learn more about how you can save energy and money throughout your home:
Air can find its way in or out of your home via gaps, cracks, holes and other openings. Major sources of air leaks include:
- Poorly sealed attic access doors
- Poorly sealed exterior doors and windows
- Recessed lighting within attic spaces
Seal any undesired openings with materials and sealants such as caulk, silicone, expanding spray foam, recessed light barriers and outlet gaskets. CFU offers a rebate incentive for air sealing upgrades that require no preapproval. Visit Energy Savers for more information.
Add insulation to your attic, walls, rim joists and crawlspaces to retain conditioned air and lower your monthly heating and cooling bill.
You can also insulate ductwork, your water heater tank and hot water pipes for additional efficiency. CFU has many insulation rebates available to you. Visit Energy Savers for more information.
Pro tip: Address all air sealing before making insulation upgrades to walls and attics.
Windows and Doors
High-quality windows and doors help save energy, money and keep your home comfortable.
Upgrade from older inefficient single pane windows to newer high efficiency double or triple pane windows.
Make sure your windows properly seal when closed. You should caulk or seal any gaps and check for proper insulation around the window (typically behind the casing trim).
Adding storm windows and window film kits can increase efficiency.
Exterior doors should seal well when closed to prevent air leaks. Older doors can be replaced with newer more efficient styles. Storm doors may also be added to new or old doors for additional efficiency. Visit Energy Savers for more information.
HVAC System Upgrades
The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are the largest consumers of energy in your home. An upgrade from low efficiency, under/oversized heating and cooling systems to high efficiency, properly sized systems can produce great long-term results in both home comfort and cost savings.
CFU offers rebate incentives for high efficiency boilers, natural gas furnaces, central air-conditioners, heat pumps (both ground and air source), mini-splits and duct work modifications. Other tips:
- Schedule regular furnace check and maintenance, including duct cleaning.
- Regularly change filters with a MERV rated filter.
- Ensure your duct work is well-sealed and insulated.
- Clean and protect exterior air source heat pumps and condenser units.
WiFi Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats make it easy to keep your home comfortable and save money.
Set a schedule for your thermostat by choosing comfortable temperature when you are home and adjusting the set point hotter or cooler (depending on the season) when your home will be unoccupied for more than four hours.
With most smart thermostats, you can also adjust the temperature anywhere from your smartphone. Many devices are also compatible with sensors that can be placed in rooms throughout your home. The sensors can detect temperature, humidity, and occupancy in these rooms, which helps divert heating and cooling attention to the occupied spaces. CFU offers a rebate incentive for the purchase and installation of a Wi-Fi smart thermostat.
Air Quality and Ventilation
Maintaing your home’s air quality benefits your health, the integrity of your home structure and the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment.
Older homes typically receive fresh air naturally by undesired gaps, cracks and holes in the thermal envelope. If you are addressing air leaks in your home and adding insulation, consider the installation of an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) or Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) system. Homes built after 2010 are built much tighter so it is necessary to bring fresh air inside and exchange it to maintain healthy air quality. These systems exchange fresh, unconditioned air with conditioned exhaust air to save energy and money.
Practice good maintenance on your HVAC system by regularly replacing the MERV rated filters and having your units cleaned and serviced annually by an HVAC professional. Visit Energy Savers for more information.
Convert all lighting in your home to LEDs. Light-emitting diode (LED) lights use considerably less energy than traditional incandescent or florescent lights and they last much longer.
Take advantage of natural lighting as well. On sunny winter days, sunlight can help naturally light and heat your home so open the blinds and let the sun shine. On hot summer days, insulated blackout blinds or curtains can help prevent sunlight from further warming your home. Visit Energy Savers for more information.
Ensure all appliances in your home are Energy Star rated. It’s important to understand how much energy each appliance uses and how much you typically run the appliance.
Knowing this information can help you save energy and money. Technology has advanced in recent years, and most new appliance upgrades come with an efficiency upgrade as well. Any appliance older than 10 years old should be evaluated annually for efficiency.
Make sure to recycle your old appliances. CFU offers a rebate for appliance recycling on refrigerators, freezers and window air conditioning units.
Visit Energy Savers for more information.
Water heating accounts for a significant portion of home energy use.
Ensuring your water heater is functioning well and is set at the right temperature can reduce water heating costs. Other tips:
- Keep your water heater set between 120°F and 140°F.
- Install low flow water fixtures and toilets in your home to help reduce overall water consumption.
- Be mindful and conscious of hot water use and implement habit changes. Reduce time spent in the shower if possible.
- Use cold water for laundry and run full loads for clothes washing and dishwasher cycles.
- Insulate your water heater tank and hot water pipes for additional efficiency.
Visit Energy Savers for more information.