As energy rates continue rising, you may be on the lookout for tips to scale back your usage and save money. Although big investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems absolutely make your home more energy efficient, you can cut energy costs sooner with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s how.
1. Change the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and swap it out when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by promoting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will quickly feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature around 70 degrees or lower through the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or higher for the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by allowing you to program setback periods while you’re away from home or asleep. Automated temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system works more effectively than one that's left alone. You also lessen the risk of equipment failures and the associated repair costs. Plus, the system is able to last a few years more when you care for it today.
5. Uncover and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever two building materials are found. Try to find and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and decrease the strain on your HVAC system. 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 seal out air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in your home's walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
During the summer, your goal is to shut out solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish this. If your budget permits, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By selecting deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade over the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Use Water Effectively
Conserve this important resource and lower your water bills with these tips:
- Take short showers instead of lengthy baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when you are shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix 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 shut them off with the flip of a switch when you are not using them. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Replace them with LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline since LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Run Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the power hogs of the home. Lower costs with the following tips: Shut windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Switch off the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when you're able to. Reheat food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If your local utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” aim to use energy-heavy appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help applying these tips, contact Becht/Givens Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair work, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even big upgrades will suit your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Becht/Givens Service Experts office today.