As energy rates continue rising, you might be on the lookout for tips to cut back your usage and save money. Even though big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more energy efficient, you can reduce energy costs right away with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Check Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and swap it out when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by promoting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home will quickly feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature around 70 degrees or lower during the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or warmer in the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by letting you program setback periods while you’re away from home or asleep. 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 adjust remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Keep Up with Annual HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides an excellent return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system runs more efficiently than a poorly maintained one. You also lower the risk of breakdowns and the necessary repair costs. In addition, the system is more likely to live a few years longer when you take good care of it today.
5. Locate and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever a couple of building materials come together. Locate and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a few tips:
- Try to replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
Through the summer, you should try to reduce solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows through the afternoon is a simple way to do this. If your budget allows, you can also try to 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 quick showers instead of 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 right away.
8. Unplug Electronics
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 they aren't being used. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs around the house? Replace them with LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline because LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
10. Run Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Lower costs with the following tips: Close windows and doors when using the furnace or air conditioner. Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Disable the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when possible. Heat food in the microwave instead of 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
Many cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, contact Norrell Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair work, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will fit your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Norrell Service Experts office today.