As energy rates continue rising, you are probably on the lookout for ways to scale back your usage and save money. Although larger 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 how you do that.
1. Replace 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 encouraging efficiency, providing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will quickly feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature about 70 degrees or cooler through the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher for the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you still use an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by enabling you to program setback periods while you’re away or sleeping. Automatic temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever losing your sense of comfort. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Implement Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works more efficiently than a poorly maintained one. You also lower the risk of equipment failures and the associated repair costs. Plus, your heating and cooling is bound to live a few years more when you care for it today.
5. Locate and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever two building materials are connected. Find and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your HVAC system. Here are a couple of tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Put in expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
During the summer, you should try to shut out solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is a convenient way to do this. If your budget allows, you could 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 during the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this key resource and reduce your water bills with some tips:
- Take quick showers rather than longer baths.
- Put in low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when you're shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair 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. At the same time, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs at home? Swap them out with LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease as LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
10. Use Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Conserve energy with any of these tips: Close windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Lower 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 functionality on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when the weather is warm. Reheat food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your local utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” aim to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
A lot of cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We supply affordable maintenance and repair service, alongside cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will suit your budget. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.