As energy rates continue rising, you might be on the lookout for ways to scale back your usage and save money. Even though big investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more energy efficient, you can reduce energy costs sooner with very little up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Check Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and change it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by encouraging efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home should feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature about 70 degrees or lower during the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or warmer in the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by allowing you to program setback schedules while you’re away or in bed. Intelligent temperature recovery means you save money without ever losing your sense of comfort. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Annual HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance delivers a good return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system performs more efficiently than one that's left alone. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the required repair costs. Additionally, your heating and cooling is bound to live a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Find and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever multiple building materials come together. Try to find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are some tips:
- Try to replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
Through the summer, you should try to shut out solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a convenient way to do this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade in the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this key resource and lower your water bills with these tips:
- Take shorter showers instead of long baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when you're 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 turn them off with the flip of a switch when they aren't being used. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Replace them with LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline since LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
10. Run Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Save money with these tips: Shut windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and add 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 possible. Heat up food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If your local utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” aim to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate directly 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 service, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even big upgrades will suit your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.