As energy rates continue to increase, you are probably on the lookout for ways to reduce your usage and save money. Although big investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more efficient, you can lower energy costs today with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Change the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and change it when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home will quickly feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature around 70 degrees or cooler through the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or higher in the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, get 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. Automated temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works more efficiently than one that's left alone. You also lessen the risk of malfunctions and the required repair costs. In addition, your equipment is able to run for a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Locate and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever two building materials are found. Try to find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a few tips:
- Try to replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, ductwork, 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
In the summer, the goal is to block solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is an easy way to handle this. If your budget allows, you could also plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade over the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this important resource and reduce your water bills with some tips:
- Take shorter showers as opposed to lengthy baths.
- Install 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. Keep Electronics 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 you are not using them. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Swap them out with LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also go down as LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Use Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Save money with the following tips: Close windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and wrap it in an insulating blanket. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when possible. Heat up food in the microwave rather than the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity during “peak times,” strive to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Reducing 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 supply 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.