The smart homeowner’s guide to boosting energy efficiency

Man adjusting the temperature on the thermostat of his house – Getty Images Stock Photo


Conduct a Home Energy Audit


A home energy audit is a thorough, professional evaluation of your home’s energy usage that identifies areas where energy is escaping or being used inefficiently. This includes poorly insulated walls, leaky windows, doors, or outdated appliances. After the audit, you’ll receive a detailed report with customized recommendations for improving your home’s energy efficiency.

The audit report typically prioritizes energy-saving measures based on their cost-effectiveness and potential for energy savings. Use the information to decide which upgrades to tackle first, considering your budget and expected return on investment. You can reduce your energy consumption and lower utility bills by implementing the recommended upgrades and improvements.

Duquesne Light is offering up to $275 in REBATES for customers who participate in the Residential Comprehensive Audit program.


Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances


Older appliances tend to consume more energy than their modern, energy-efficient counterparts. Consider replacing your aging appliances with ENERGY STAR-certified models designed to use significantly less energy without compromising performance. From refrigerators and washing machines to HVAC systems and water heaters, upgrading to energy-efficient appliances can substantially affect your home’s energy consumption.

Current Duquesne Energy customers may be eligible for rebates on various energy-saving devices, such as air conditioners, occupancy sensors, dehumidifiers, insulation, and furnaces.


Seal Air Leaks


Given Pittsburgh’s cold winters, it’s crucial to seal any air leaks in your home. Caulk gaps around windows and doors, add weatherstripping to prevent drafts, and ensure your home is well-insulated. Check your attic, walls, and floors to ensure they are adequately insulated. Upgrading your insulation can significantly affect your home’s energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs.

Proper insulation and sealing will help retain heat during the winter, reducing the need for excessive heating. This simple task can prevent drafts and ensure that your home maintains its temperature more effectively, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling.


Install a Programmable Thermostat


A programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperature settings for various times of the day. This means you can automatically lower the temperature when you’re not at home or during the night, and then have it comfortably warm or cool when you are present. This can result in substantial energy savings over time, as your heating and cooling systems won’t have to work as hard.

Current Duquesne Energy customers can receive discounted Smart Thermometers.


Efficient Lighting


Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED or CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. These alternatives use less electricity and have a longer lifespan. Additionally, make it a habit to turn off lights when you leave a room, and consider using motion sensors or timers for outdoor lighting to ensure they’re only on when needed.


Regular HVAC Maintenance


Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system requires regular maintenance to operate efficiently. Change air filters as recommended, clean vents and ducts, and schedule annual professional inspections. A well-maintained HVAC system runs smoothly, consumes less energy, and extends its lifespan.


Reduce Phantom Energy


Many electronic devices and appliances continue to draw power even when turned off, known as “phantom energy” or “vampire power.” Unplug devices or use power strips to cut off power completely when not in use. This small change can add up to significant energy savings.

Utilize Duquesne’s Vampire Calculator to estimate your current costs and identify ways to reduce them.


Use Energy-Efficient Window Treatments


Window coverings like blinds, curtains, and shades can help regulate indoor temperatures. During hot summers, close them during the day to block out the sun’s heat, and open them during the winter to let in natural light and warmth. This reduces the strain on your HVAC system.


Educate Your Household


Finally, educating your household members about the importance of energy conservation is essential. Encourage everyone to follow energy-saving practices, such as turning off lights, adjusting thermostats responsibly, and practicing good habits in terms of energy consumption.


Maintaining your home’s energy efficiency doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. By implementing these simple tips, you can:


  • Lower Utility Bills. Reduced energy consumption means lower utility bills. Whether it’s heating, cooling, or lighting, using less energy translates to less money spent on utilities.
  • Increased Appliance Lifespan. Energy-efficient appliances tend to last longer, reducing the need for costly replacements or repairs. This extends the lifespan of your investments.
  • Utilize Tax Credits and Incentives. Energy-efficient upgrades may sometimes qualify for tax credits or utility company incentives, providing additional financial benefits.
  • Promote Sustainable Living. By reducing energy consumption, you also reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier environment. This may not result in immediate monetary savings, but it has long-term benefits for the planet and future generations.
  • Increase Property Value. Energy-efficient homes are increasingly desirable in the real estate market. When you decide to sell your home, having energy-efficient upgrades can boost its market value and attract environmentally-conscious buyers.


Remember that even small changes can have a significant impact over time, making your home more comfortable and environmentally responsible. Boosting home energy efficiency helps Pittsburgh residents save money on utility bills and contributes to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible community. These simple measures are easy to implement and offer both short-term and long-term financial benefits.


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