As energy rates continue rising, you are probably on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. Even though larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems absolutely make your home more energy efficient, you can reduce energy costs today with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s how.
1. Replace the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and change it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by boosting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home should feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature around 70 degrees or cooler during the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher for the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. This affordable replacement pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by enabling you to program setback schedules while you’re away or asleep. Automatic temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever losing your sense of comfort. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers an excellent return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system performs better than a neglected one. You also lower the risk of breakdowns and the necessary repair costs. Plus, your heating and cooling is bound to live a few years more when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Locate and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever a couple of building materials come together. Locate and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your HVAC system. Here are a few tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam near wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your home's walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
Through the summer, you should try to reduce solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish this. If your budget allows, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By selecting deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade in the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this important resource and lower your water bills with the following tips:
- Take quick showers rather than longer baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when 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 you are not using them. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs at home? Exchange them for LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease because LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Save money with any of these tips: Close windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and wrap it in an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Disable the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when you're able to. Reheat food in the microwave rather than the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” try to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting Home Energy Costs
Lots of cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide affordable maintenance and repair service, alongside cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will match your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.