As energy rates continue rising, you may be on the lookout for strategies to scale back your usage and save money. While big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems can help make your home more efficient, you can cut 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 change it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home will quickly feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature about 70 degrees or lower during the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or higher for the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly via energy savings by letting you program setback periods while you’re at work or sleeping. Intelligent temperature recovery means you save money without ever feeling uncomfortable. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Annual HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers an excellent return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works more efficiently than one that's left alone. You also reduce the risk of breakdowns and the associated repair costs. Plus, your heating and cooling is able to live a few years longer when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Uncover and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever a couple of building materials are found. Find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and decrease the strain on your HVAC system. Here are some tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
Through the summer, you should try to shut out solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a simple way to accomplish this. If your budget has room, you could also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By selecting deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade in the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.
7. Use Water Effectively
Conserve this important resource and reduce your water bills with some tips:
- Take short showers instead of longer baths.
- Put in low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as quickly 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 you are not using them. At the same time, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have 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 decline as LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Run Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Conserve energy with these tips: Shut windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Switch off the heated-dry feature on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when you're able to. Reheat food in the microwave as opposed to 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 Cutting Home Energy Costs
Lots of cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, contact 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 larger upgrades will fit your budget. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.