A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

| by Joe Holliday
A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

Make a New Year’s resolution this year that you can keep—slim down your energy bills. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the annual energy bill for a single-family home is approximately $2,100. By making some simple lifestyle changes and opting for energy-efficient products, you and your family can reduce your annual energy bill and greenhouse gas emissions -- now there's a promising resolution!

Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling account for approximately 45 percent of the energy used in your home.

Twenty-nine percent or nearly $630 of a homeowner's bill goes to heating. To help reduce your heating bill:

  • Check your air filter on a monthly basis. During heavy-use months, such as winter and summer, the filter may need to be changed monthly. At a minimum, it should be changed every three months.
  • Schedule pre-season tune ups with HVAC professionals to ensure your equipment is performing in top shape. Dirt and neglect are top causes of heating-system failure.
  • Install a programmable thermostat that allows you to "set it and forget it" based on your family's activity pattern. Per the DOE, turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours can save 5 to 15 percent a year on your heating bill.
  • When it comes to cooling, a homeowner spends almost $275 annually. Your family can experience more efficient cooling by implementing the following:

    • Put an end to overheated spaces with new ENERGY STAR®-qualified windows, which can save you 7 to 15 percent depending on your product selection.
    • Keep air vents clear.
    • Purchasing a new cooling unit? Whether a whole-home or single-room cooling solution, select ENERGY STAR®-qualified models, which can reduce your monthly utility bills.


    Did you know that if every American home replaced their five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with ENERGY STAR®-qualified bulbs, Americans would save nearly $9 billion each year in energy costs. We’d also prevent 10-million cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions. To a homeowner, the savings translates to about $70 a year.

    Opt for qualified light bulbs and help do your part.

    Water Heating

    Water heating is the second largest energy expenditure after heating and cooling. In fact, the average household spends between $400-$600 each year on water heating. One way to cut down on your energy bills is a tankless water heater. Unlike a traditional storage tank, a tankless water heater only heats the water as it’s needed and shuts down when the demand for hot water ceases, using up to 40 percent less energy.

    Other options for reducing your home's water-heating costs include turning down gas water heaters when leaving on vacation. And, if you're one of the 27 million Americans with a water heater that's more than 10 years old, it's time to do your research. When your hot-water heater fails and you're scrambling for a solution, it's hard to evaluate every option. Planning ahead and researching the most efficient options will save you stress and possibly reduce your energy use.


    ENERGY-STAR-qualified appliances are a win-win-win. They save energy, money and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, they are engineered with advanced technologies that use between 10 and 50 percent less energy and water compared to standard appliances, which saves homeowners on their monthly bills. When it comes time to buy or replace older appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers and washers and dryers, selecting an ENERGY STAR® option just makes sense.


    The Consumer Electronics Association states that electronics are responsible for approximately 15 percent of household energy use. Regardless, a few simple behavioral changes can help reduce your electronics’ energy consumption, such as:

    • Turning your computer to sleep mode or completely off saves more energy. Screen savers don’t actually reduce the energy used by computer monitors.
    • Plugging TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players into power strips so that can easily be switched off when not in use. 

    Making small adjustments can have a significant impact on your annual utility bill. And, this year, these small actions can help you keep your New Year’s resolution. Cheers!

    Topics: Cost of Ownership, Energy Audits, Energy Star, Going Green, Water Heaters

    Companies: Rinnai

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