As energy rates continue to rise, you are probably on the lookout for tips to cut back your usage and save money. While big investments like replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems absolutely make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs today with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and replace it when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by encouraging efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature about 70 degrees or cooler through the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or higher for 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, get a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away from home or in bed. Automatic temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever feeling uncomfortable. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a great return on investment. First, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system runs better than one that's left alone. You also lessen the risk of breakdowns and the required repair costs. Plus, the system is bound to run for a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Uncover and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever multiple building materials come together. Try to find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a couple of tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ductwork, 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
In the summer, the goal is to shut out solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows through the afternoon is a simple way to handle this. If your budget has room, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade in the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Use Water Effectively
Conserve this key resource and save on your water bills with the following tips:
- Take short showers instead of lengthy baths.
- Put in low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when you're 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 shut them off with the flip of a switch when they aren't being used. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Swap them out with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also go down since LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Use Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Conserve energy with the following tips: Shut windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Disable the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when you're able to. Reheat food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your local utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” aim to use energy-heavy 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 implementing these tips, get in touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer affordable maintenance and repair work, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big upgrades will suit your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.