With the celebration of Earth Day a few weeks ago and spring cleaning on the minds of countless homeowners, it’s an ideal time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The truth is, with only a few small, inexpensive changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy bills. Here, the home-efficiency specialists from Service Experts share techniques on how to start saving today.
1. Use a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat usually saves between 12% to 23% on a power bill, and it’s also a remarkable tool to lower carbon emissions from a household. How does this happen? Smart thermostats go beyond only programming the time of day for your HVAC 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 remotely, and notify homeowners about changes that may affect 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 an air-conditioning system tune-up. It will help homeowners avoid large and costly repairs during the busy season for HVAC service crews and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A tune-up involves cleaning all of the system’s important components, plus testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and switching out air filters, the outdoor condenser should also be cleaned and inspected.
“During your tune-up, it’s a great time to tap the expertise of an HVAC pro,” said 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 a utility bill. In many homes, air escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has difficulty keeping a consistent temperature, it may be time to inspect your home's attic insulation. Cold floors may also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t sufficient. All of these worries also lead to higher energy consumption, which leads to elevated 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. Ensure Your Home 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 hot air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a reminder to green up these areas of the house by doing some simple repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two economical tasks that are fairly easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lower the burden on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Use an Energy Zoning System
To develop a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC professional 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 balancing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems commonly utilize several thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When paired with a smart thermostat, they can substantially improve comfort, save customers more than 30% on their energy bill and seriously 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 finances don't make it possible for major upgrades, replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an inexpensive, eco-friendly decision with a large impact on the environment. Many LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less power than traditional bulbs.
7. Use Solar Energy
With as much as 30% in federal tax credits available to lower 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 your home'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.
To find out more about ways to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.