As energy rates continue to rise, you are probably on the lookout for tips to scale back your usage and save money. Although larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems can help make your home more energy efficient, you can cut energy costs today with little to no up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and change it when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler through the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher in the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by allowing you to program setback schedules while you’re away or asleep. Automatic temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever feeling uncomfortable. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can set up remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers an excellent return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works better than a neglected one. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the necessary repair costs. In addition, the system is able to last a few years more when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Locate and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever a couple of building materials are found. Locate and fix these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a few tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
In the summer, you should try to reduce solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to handle this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade in the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.
7. Use Water Effectively
Conserve this key resource and lower your water bills with some tips:
- Take quick showers as opposed to long baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as quickly as possible.
8. Turn Things Off
Plug computers, printers, TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other electronics into power strips. This way, you can shut them off with the flip of a switch when you are not using them. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs around the house? Exchange them for LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline because LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Use Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Save money with any of these tips: Shut windows and doors when using the furnace or air conditioner. Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Switch off the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Hang your clothes outside to dry when you're able to. Heat up food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity during “peak times,” aim to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures are directly related to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, get in touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide affordable maintenance and repair service, alongside cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big upgrades will match your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.