Energy Saving Strategies

By doing all these things to your home, your utility bills should drop by half! All the upgrades can be done by you except the installation of high efficiency A/C.

Water Heater

  • Wrap your water heater with an insulating “blanket” and turn the temperature down to 120 or lower and install a timer (electric heaters only).
  • Replace tank if more than 15 yrs. old! (unless you like an indoor swimming pool)

Heating and A/C

  • Install a high efficiency A/C and setback thermostat.
  • Have system checked for air leaks-most homes lose 25-30% of their cooling into the attic this way!
  • Replace “allergy” type filters if you have one, they raise your elec. bill because they’re too restrictive–your system can’t “breathe” properly.
  • Keep your A/C filter clean and make sure it is properly installed (the filters which install in the bottom of vertical furnaces are commonly mis-installed, allowing air to bypass the filter and clog the cooling coil).
  • Have the inside coils checked & cleaned if dirty–dirty coils are a big cause of high elec. Bills.
  • Turn off your gas furnace pilot in the Summer.
  • Have an energy audit done at your home, it is probably an energy “hog”.

Ceiling Fans

  • Install ceiling fans and use them only if you are in the room (each one degree you raise your thermostat in the Summer saves you 3% on your cooling bills.

Sprinklers and Plumbing

  • Put a rain switch on your sprinkler system.
  • Install low-flow toilets free from the City of Austin, these DO work!
  • Replace leaking flapper valve inside your commode tank. (if your toilet comes on every so often for no reason)


  • Have the attic insulation increased to at least R-30 and install a radiant barrier (tinfoil like material) on the bottom of the rafters (reflects the sun’s heat).
  • Install solar screens (South & West sides only), but remember to remove them in the Winter so the sun can passively heat your home.
  • Install storm doors.
  • Put insulating foam “liners” behind all switch and plug covers.
  • Replace damaged weather stripping at exterior doors.
  • Make sure your attic is property ventilated (look at your energy audit)–many homes have NO air vents under the eaves, these are critical!


  • Buy and use a toaster oven, instead of heating up your whole kitchen.


  • Use the new round fluorescent light bulbs, these are not cheap but last longer, are cooler and put out more light.


  • Check to make sure your fireplace damper is closed (sucks out a lot of air).

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
austin home inspector example