As energy rates continue to increase, you are probably on the lookout for strategies to reduce your usage and save money. Although big-ticket investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems absolutely make your home more energy efficient, you can lower energy costs sooner with very little up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and swap it out when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by boosting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler in the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or higher over the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you still use an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by allowing you to program setback schedules while you’re away from home or sleeping. Automated temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever losing your sense of comfort. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Implement Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a great return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system performs more effectively than one that's left alone. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the associated repair costs. In addition, your equipment is able to last a few years longer when you care for it today.
5. Locate and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever a couple of building materials are connected. Locate and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a few tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your home's walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
During the summer, your goal is to shut out solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a convenient way to accomplish this. If your budget permits, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade in the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Use Water Effectively
Conserve this key resource and lower your water bills with the following tips:
- Take quick showers rather than long baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when you are shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as quickly 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 you are not using them. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs at home? Exchange them for LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease as LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Use Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Lower costs with the following tips: Close windows and doors when using the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Disable the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when the weather is warm. Reheat food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity during “peak times,” strive to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Reducing Home Energy Costs
Lots of cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help applying these tips, reach out to Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning. We offer affordable maintenance and repair service, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, 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 Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning office today.