10 Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs at Home
As energy rates continue rising, you might be on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. While big-ticket investments like replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems certainly make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs today with little to no up-front investment. Here’s how.
1. Change 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 promoting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature at 70 degrees or lower in the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or higher in the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. This affordable replacement pays for itself quickly in energy savings by letting you program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping. Automatic temperature recovery means you save money without ever feeling uncomfortable. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system runs more efficiently than a neglected one. You also reduce the risk of breakdowns and the associated repair costs. Plus, your equipment is bound to last a few years longer when you take good care of it today.
5. Find and Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever two building materials come together. Find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your HVAC system. Here are some tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
In the summer, your goal is to block solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is an easy way to do this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade in the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this limited resource and lower your water bills with these tips:
- Take short showers instead of long baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as soon as possible.
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 not in use. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Replace them with LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease because 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:
- Close 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 run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Disable the heated-dry feature on your dishwasher.
- Line-dry clothes when possible.
- Heat food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons.
- If your utility provider charges more for electricity during “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 implementing these tips, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer affordable maintenance and repair work, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will fit your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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