As energy rates continue rising, you are probably on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. Although big-ticket investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems absolutely make your home more energy efficient, you can reduce energy costs today with very little up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and swap it out when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by promoting efficiency, ensuring 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. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler in the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or warmer for the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. This affordable replacement pays for itself quickly in energy savings by allowing you to program setback schedules while you’re at work or sleeping. Automatic temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever feeling uncomfortable. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Keep Up with Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system works better than a poorly maintained one. You also reduce the risk of breakdowns and the necessary repair costs. In addition, your heating and cooling is more likely to last a few years more when you care for it today.
5. Uncover and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever two building materials come together. Try to find and fix these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your HVAC system. Here are a few tips:
- Try to replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
During the summer, you should try to shut out solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a convenient 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 a source of shade in the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this important resource and reduce your water bills with the following tips:
- Take shorter showers as opposed to long baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when you are shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair 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 they aren't being used. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs around the house? Replace them with LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline because LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Save money with the following tips: Shut windows and doors when using 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. Don't use the heated-dry feature on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when possible. Reheat food in the microwave rather than the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your local utility provider charges more for electricity during “peak times,” aim to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting 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 Donelson Air Service Experts. We supply affordable maintenance and repair support, as well as 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 Donelson Air Service Experts office today.