As energy rates continue rising, you may be on the lookout for tips to cut back your usage and save money. Although big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems absolutely make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs right away with little to no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Replace the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and change it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by boosting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler through 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, look for a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly via energy savings by allowing you to program setback periods while you’re at work or in bed. Automatic temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Implement Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a great return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works more effectively than one that's left alone. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the necessary repair costs. Plus, the system is more likely to run for a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Find and Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever two building materials are found. Find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your HVAC system. Here are some tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam near wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
Through the summer, your goal is to shut out solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy 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 plenty of shade over the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this key resource and lower your water bills with some tips:
- Take shorter showers rather than longer baths.
- Put in low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when you are shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with 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. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs at home? Exchange them for LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline because LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Conserve energy with any of these tips: Shut windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and add an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry feature on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when you're able to. Heat up food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” try to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
Lots of cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help applying these tips, get in touch with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer affordable maintenance and repair service, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will match your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.