As energy rates continue to rise, you are probably on the lookout for strategies to reduce your usage and save money. While larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems can help make your home more efficient, you can reduce energy costs right away with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Check Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and swap it out when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by promoting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home should feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or lower in the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or warmer in the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, upgrade to 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. Intelligent temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever losing your sense of comfort. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a good return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system works better than a neglected one. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the associated repair costs. Plus, the system is bound to run for a few years longer when you take good care of it today.
5. Locate and Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever multiple building materials are connected. Try to find and fix these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your HVAC system. Here are some tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Put in expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
In the summer, the goal is to reduce solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to handle this. If your budget has room, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade in the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this limited resource and lower your water bills with these tips:
- Take shorter showers as opposed to longer baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when you are shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as soon as possible.
8. Unplug Electronics
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 not in use. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs at home? Exchange them for LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline as LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Use Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Conserve energy with any of these tips: Shut windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and add an insulating blanket. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Disable the heated-dry feature on your dishwasher. Hang your clothes outside to dry when the weather is warm. Heat food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If your local utility provider charges more for electricity during “peak times,” strive to use energy-heavy appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We supply affordable maintenance and repair work, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will fit your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.