As energy rates continue to increase, you are probably on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. Even though larger investments like replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems certainly make your home more energy efficient, you can cut energy costs sooner with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Check the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and replace it when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by promoting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home will quickly feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler through the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher in the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get 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 enabling you to program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping. Automated temperature recovery means you save money without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Annual HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers an excellent return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system performs more effectively than a poorly maintained one. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the associated repair costs. In addition, your heating and cooling is bound to last a few years longer when you take good care of it today.
5. Find and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever a couple of building materials come together. Find and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a couple of tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your home's 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. Putting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to handle this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By selecting deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade for the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this important resource and save on your water bills with these tips:
- Take quick showers instead of longer baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when you are shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes right away.
8. Unplug Electronics
Plug computers, printers, TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other electronics into power strips. This way, you can shut 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 prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Exchange them for LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease because LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Use Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the power hogs of the home. Save money with any of these tips: Close windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and add an insulating blanket. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when the weather is warm. 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 around “peak times,” try to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures are directly related to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide affordable maintenance and repair service, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will match your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.