As energy rates continue to increase, you might be on the lookout for strategies to reduce your usage and save money. While big 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 little to no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Check the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and change it when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will quickly feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature about 70 degrees or cooler through the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or warmer in the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. This affordable replacement pays for itself quickly via energy savings by letting you program setback periods while you’re away from home or asleep. Intelligent temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Keep Up with Annual HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance delivers a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system performs more effectively than a poorly maintained one. You also lower the risk of equipment failures and the associated repair costs. Plus, your heating and cooling is bound to last a few years more when you care for it today.
5. Uncover and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever multiple building materials come together. Locate and seal 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 ensure windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Put in expanding spray foam near wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in your home's walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
Through the summer, the goal is to block solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish this. If your budget permits, 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 allowing the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this important resource and lower your water bills with the following tips:
- Take quick showers as opposed to longer baths.
- Put in low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when you are 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. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Swap them out with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline as LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Conserve energy with the following tips: Close windows and doors when using the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down 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. Dry clothes outdoors when possible. Heat food in the microwave rather than the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” aim to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Reducing Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide affordable maintenance and repair service, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big-ticket 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.