As energy rates continue to increase, you are probably on the lookout for strategies to cut back your usage and save money. Although larger investments like replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems certainly make your home more efficient, you can lower energy costs sooner with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s how.
1. Change the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and change it when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by boosting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home should 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 during the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or warmer for the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re at work or sleeping. Intelligent temperature recovery means you save money without ever losing your sense of comfort. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can set up remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides an excellent return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system runs better than a poorly maintained one. You also lessen the risk of malfunctions and the required repair costs. In addition, the system is able to last a few years longer when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Uncover and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever two building materials come together. Locate and fix these leaks to keep your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are some tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
Through the summer, the goal is to reduce solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade for the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this important resource and reduce your water bills with the following tips:
- Take quick showers rather than long baths.
- Install 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 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 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 consumption.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Replace them with LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline because LEDs live 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 starting the furnace or air conditioner. Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry feature on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when the weather is warm. Heat food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity during “peak times,” try to use energy-heavy appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Reducing Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, contact Strogen's Service Experts. We supply affordable maintenance and repair work, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will fit your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Strogen's Service Experts office today.