As energy rates continue to rise, you may be on the lookout for tips to scale back your usage and save money. Even though big investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more energy efficient, you can cut energy costs right away with very little up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and replace it when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by boosting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home should feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature about 70 degrees or cooler during the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or higher over the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re at work or sleeping. Intelligent 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 set up remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a good return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system runs more efficiently than a neglected one. You also lower the risk of equipment failures and the necessary repair costs. Plus, the system is more likely to last a few years longer when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Find and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop 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 heating and cooling. Here are a few tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
In the summer, your goal is to reduce solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows through the afternoon is an easy way to do this. If your budget has room, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By selecting deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade over 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 these tips:
- Take short showers as opposed to long baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as soon 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 not in use. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Swap them out with LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease since LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the power hogs of the home. Conserve energy with any of these tips: Shut windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and wrap it in 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 possible. Heat up food in the microwave rather than 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 making use of these tips, contact Finch Air Conditioning & Heating. We supply affordable maintenance and repair service, alongside 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 Finch Air Conditioning & Heating office today.