With the celebration of Earth Day a short time ago and spring cleaning on the minds of a lot of homeowners, it’s an ideal time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The truth is, with only a few small, economical changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy costs. Here, the home-efficiency professionals from Service Experts share techniques on how to start saving now.
1. Use a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat typically saves between 12% to 23% on an energy bill, and it’s also a great tool to lower carbon emissions from a home. How does this happen? Smart thermostats do more than simply programming the time of day for the heating or cooling system to turn on or off. A number of smart thermostats are intuitive and can detect changes in power use patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed while you are away via an app, and can be programmed to send a notification to homeowners about changes that may cause a major increase to their energy bill.
“This technology saves you money and also makes life easier,” said Service Experts’ Lisa Lange. “It’s a low-cost way to improve energy efficiency in your home immediately.”
2. Get a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat hits, another eco-friendly move is to set up routine maintenance for your air-conditioning system. It will help homeowners avoid major repairs during the busy season for HVAC technicians and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A routine maintenance appointment involves cleaning all of the system’s key components, as well as testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and replacing clogged or dirty air filters, the condenser located outdoors should also be cleaned and examined.
“During your tune-up, it’s a great time to tap the expertise of an HVAC pro,” explained Lisa Lange. “We encourage customers to ask about thermostat settings, when to change air filters and bring any other questions they may have about the energy efficiency of their home.”
3. Add Insulation
Installing more insulation in a home is a green tip that could help save up to 20% on an energy bill. In many homes, air escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has problems keeping a consistent temperature, it may be time to examine the building's attic insulation. Cold floors may also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t satisfactory. All of these problems also lead to increased energy consumption, which leads to increased carbon emissions.
“Many homeowners are surprised when they learn their home is under-insulated, but it’s actually quite common,” said Lange. “The good news is that, just like a smart thermostat, you can see the utility cost savings from this decision very quickly. You will also take comfort in knowing that you are helping improve our environment through reduced emissions.
4. Make Sure the House Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all areas of the home prone to leaks and heat loss or gain (in summer, no one wants muggy air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a signal to green up these areas of the house by doing some quick repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two low-cost tasks that are relatively easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lessen the strain on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Think About Developing an Energy Zoning System
To formulate a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC Expert identifies areas in a house based on its layout, sun exposures and the amount of energy demand different areas have. The HVAC pro can then design a system that properly distributes air in the home weighing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems commonly involve several thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When paired with a smart thermostat, they can drastically improve comfort, save customers more than 30% on their energy bill and noticeably reduce a home’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“How many times in a day do we heat or cool a room no one is using? It happens all the time, and it adds up to significant energy waste, and these systems are an optimal solution,” Lange said.
6. Install Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s budget doesn’t permit for major upgrades, replacing standard incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an inexpensive, eco-friendly decision with a large impact on the environment. Most LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less energy than traditional bulbs.
7. Use Solar Energy
With as much as 30% in federal tax credits available to bring down the cost of a solar installation, there may never be a better time to install one on a home. Over their lifetime, these quality, energy-producing systems can yield an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce a homeowner’s total carbon footprint.
“We have the best program in the country. Our experts will develop an energy savings plan that will help you get the most out of your system and show you’re making a direct positive impact on the environment,” Lange said.
For additional information about tips to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.