As energy rates continue rising, you may be on the lookout for tips to cut back your usage and save money. Although larger investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more efficient, you can reduce energy costs today with little to 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 occurs first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. 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
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler during the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or warmer in the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly via energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away or in bed. Automated temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever losing your sense of comfort. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Implement 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 poorly maintained one. You also reduce the risk of breakdowns and the associated repair costs. Additionally, your equipment is bound to run for a few years more when you care for it today.
5. Locate 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 heating and cooling. Here are a few tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
During the summer, you should try to reduce solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish 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 cooling shade for the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Use Water Effectively
Conserve this key resource and save on your water bills with these tips:
- Take short showers instead of lengthy baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when you are shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as soon 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. At the same time, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Swap them out with LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease as LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the power hogs of the home. Conserve energy with these tips: Shut windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when you're able to. Heat food in the microwave rather than the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” try to use energy-heavy appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide affordable maintenance and repair work, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even big-ticket 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.