As energy rates continue rising, you are probably on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. While big investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more energy efficient, you can reduce energy costs right away with little to no up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and change it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature about 70 degrees or lower through the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or warmer for the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away from home or sleeping. Automatic temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever feeling uncomfortable. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system performs more effectively than a poorly maintained one. You also reduce the risk of equipment failures and the required repair costs. Additionally, your heating and cooling is more likely to last a few years longer when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Find and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever a couple of building materials are connected. Try to find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a couple of tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Put in expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
During the summer, the goal is to shut out solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a convenient way to accomplish this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By selecting deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade in the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this limited resource and save on your water bills with the following tips:
- Take shorter showers as opposed to longer baths.
- Put in low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when you're shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as quickly 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 prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Replace them with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline as LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Run Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Conserve energy with any of these tips: Close windows and doors when using the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Switch off the heated-dry feature on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when the weather is warm. Reheat food in the microwave instead of 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 Cutting Home Energy Costs
Lots of cost-cutting measures are directly related to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, get in touch with Stevenson Service Experts. We supply affordable maintenance and repair service, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will match your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Stevenson Service Experts office today.