As energy rates continue to increase, you may be on the lookout for tips to scale back your usage and save money. While big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more energy efficient, you can reduce energy costs right away with very little up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and replace it when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and stopping 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 raise it to 77 degrees or higher over the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by enabling you to program setback periods while you’re away or in bed. Automatic temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever feeling uncomfortable. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Keep Up with Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a great return on investment. First, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works more effectively than one that's left alone. You also lower the risk of equipment failures and the required repair costs. Plus, your equipment is able to last a few years longer when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Find and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever a couple of building materials are found. Try to find and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a couple of tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
Through the summer, the goal is to shut out solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is a convenient way to handle this. If your budget allows, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade for the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this important resource and lower your water bills with some tips:
- Take quick showers instead of lengthy baths.
- Put in 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 right away.
8. Unplug Electronics
Plug computers, printers, TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other electronics into power strips. This way, you can turn 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 use.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Replace them with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease since LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the power hogs of the home. Lower costs with any of these tips: Close windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and wrap it in an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Hang your clothes outside to dry when the weather is warm. Heat up food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” aim to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Reducing Home Energy Costs
A lot of cost-cutting measures are directly related to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, get in touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide affordable maintenance and repair service, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will match your budget. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.