With the celebration of Earth Day recently and spring cleaning on the minds of a lot of homeowners, it’s a great time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The truth is, with only a few small, economical changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy costs. Here, the home-efficiency gurus from Service Experts share techniques on how to start saving right now.
1. Purchase a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat typically saves between 12% to 23% on an energy bill, and it’s also a very good tool to lower carbon emissions from a household. How is that possible? Smart thermostats go beyond only programming the time of day for the heating or cooling system to turn on or off. Some smart thermostats are intuitive and can identify changes in energy usage patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed while you are away via an app, and can be programmed to send a notification to homeowners about changes that may impact their energy bill.
“This technology saves you money and also makes life easier,” stated Service Experts’ Lisa Lange. “It’s a low-cost way to improve energy efficiency in your home immediately.”
2. Schedule a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat arrives, another eco-friendly move is to schedule an air-conditioning system tune-up. Routine maintenance will help homeowners avoid significant repairs during the busy season for HVAC pros and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A routine maintenance appointment involves cleaning all of the system’s important components, in addition to testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and changing out air filters, the outdoor condenser should also be cleaned and checked.
“During your tune-up, it’s a great time to tap the expertise of an HVAC pro,” explained Lisa Lange. “We encourage customers to ask about thermostat settings, when to change air filters and bring any other questions they may have about the energy efficiency of their home.”
3. Add Insulation
Installing more insulation in a home is a green tip that could help save up to 20% on an electricity bill. In many homes, air escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has trouble keeping a consistent temperature, it may be time to examine the building's attic insulation. Cold floors could also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t satisfactory. All of these worries also lead to higher energy consumption, which leads to more carbon emissions.
“Many homeowners are surprised when they learn their home is under-insulated, but it’s actually quite common,” said Lange. “The good news is that, just like a smart thermostat, you can see the utility cost savings from this decision very quickly. You will also take comfort in knowing that you are helping improve our environment through reduced emissions.
4. Make Sure Your Residence Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all locations in the home prone to leaks and heat loss or gain (in summer, no one wants steamy air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a reminder to green up these areas of the house by embarking on some simple repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two inexpensive tasks that are reasonably easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lower the burden on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Consider an Energy Zoning System
To develop a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC specialist identifies zones in a house based on its layout, sun exposures and the amount of energy demand different areas need. The HVAC pro can then design a system that precisely distributes air through the home weighing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems usually involve multiple thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When joined with a smart thermostat, they can dramatically improve comfort, save customers more than 30% on their energy bill and seriously reduce a home’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“How many times in a day do we heat or cool a room no one is using? It happens all the time, and it adds up to significant energy waste, and these systems are an optimal solution,” Lange said.
6. Install Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s budget doesn’t make it possible for major upgrades, replacing standard incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is a low-cost, eco-friendly decision with a large impact on the environment. The majority of LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less electricity than traditional bulbs.
7. Consider Solar Energy
With up to 30% in federal tax credits available to reduce the cost of a solar installation, there may never be a better time to install one on a home. Over their lifetime, these quality, energy-producing systems can produce an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce a homeowner’s overall carbon footprint.
“We have the best program in the country. Our experts will develop an energy savings plan that will help you get the most out of your system and show you’re making a direct positive impact on the environment,” Lange said.
For more information about how to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.