As energy rates continue rising, you might be on the lookout for ways to reduce your usage and save money. Even though larger investments like replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems can help make your home more efficient, you can lower energy costs right away with very little up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Check Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and replace it when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by promoting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home should feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature about 70 degrees or cooler during the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or warmer over the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you still use an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away from home or in bed. Intelligent temperature recovery means you save money without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides a good return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system works more efficiently than a poorly maintained one. You also lessen the risk of equipment failures and the required repair costs. Plus, the system is bound to run for a few years more when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Find and Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever multiple building materials are connected. Locate and fix these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your HVAC system. Here are a couple of tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
In the summer, your goal is to reduce solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is a convenient way to do this. If your budget has room, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade for the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this key resource and save on 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 you're shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as quickly as possible.
8. Keep Electronics 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 they aren't being used. At the same time, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Replace them with LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also go down as LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Run Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Lower costs with any of these tips: Close windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and wrap it in an insulating blanket. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Switch off the heated-dry feature on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when possible. Reheat food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” try to use energy-heavy appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
Lots of cost-cutting measures are directly related to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help applying these tips, get in touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide affordable maintenance and repair work, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even big upgrades will fit your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.