As energy rates continue to increase, you are probably on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. Even though big investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems can help make your home more energy efficient, you can lower energy costs sooner with little to no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Check Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and swap it out when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by promoting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and preventing 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 in the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or warmer over the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. This affordable replacement pays for itself quickly via energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re at work or asleep. Automatic temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever losing your sense of comfort. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can set up remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides a great return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system runs more efficiently than a poorly maintained one. You also reduce the risk of equipment failures and the required repair costs. Additionally, your heating and cooling is able to run for a few years more when you care for it today.
5. Locate and Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever two building materials are connected. Locate and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your HVAC system. Here are some tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
In the summer, you should try to reduce solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a convenient way to handle this. If your budget permits, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade in the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this important resource and lower your water bills with the following tips:
- Take quick showers instead of lengthy baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes right away.
8. Turn Things Off
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 minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Exchange them for 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. Save money with the following tips: Close windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust 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 possible. Heat food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” strive to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting 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, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer affordable maintenance and repair service, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big upgrades will suit your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.