As energy rates continue rising, you may be on the lookout for tips to scale back your usage and save money. Although larger investments like replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems can help make your home more energy efficient, you can cut energy costs right away with very little up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and replace it when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by encouraging efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home should feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or lower through the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or warmer for 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, 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 losing your sense of comfort. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Implement Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides an excellent return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system performs more effectively than a neglected one. You also reduce the risk of breakdowns and the required repair costs. In addition, the system is more likely to live a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Locate and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever multiple building materials are found. Try to find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and decrease the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a couple of tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
In the summer, you should try to block solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to handle this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade in the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this key resource and lower your water bills with some tips:
- Take shorter showers instead of longer baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes right away.
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 not in use. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs at home? Replace them with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease as LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Lower costs with these tips: Shut windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust 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 functionality on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when you're able to. Heat up food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” aim to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Reducing Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, contact Stark Services. We provide affordable maintenance and repair support, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will suit your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Stark Services office today.