As energy rates continue to rise, you might be on the lookout for tips to scale back your usage and save money. Although larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems absolutely make your home more energy efficient, you can lower energy costs today with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Check the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and swap it out when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature around 70 degrees or lower in the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or higher over the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. This affordable replacement pays for itself quickly in energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away from home or in bed. Automatic temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can set up remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides a great return on investment. First, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system runs more efficiently than a poorly maintained one. You also lower the risk of malfunctions and the associated repair costs. Additionally, your equipment is able to live a few years longer when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Find and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever a couple of building materials are found. Find and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your HVAC system. Here are a couple of tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Put in expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
Through the summer, your goal is to shut out solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows through the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish this. If your budget allows, you could also plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade over the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this key resource and save on your water bills with the following tips:
- Take quick showers as opposed to long baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with 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 shut them off with the flip of a switch when you are not using them. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs around the house? Exchange them for 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. Lower costs 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 use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Hang your clothes outside to dry when the weather is warm. Reheat food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” strive to use energy-heavy appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help applying these tips, get in touch with Levy & Son Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair support, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will match your budget. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Levy & Son Service Experts office today.