10 Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs at Home
As energy rates continue rising, you might be on the lookout for strategies to reduce your usage and save money. Although larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems absolutely make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs sooner with very little up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Check 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 encouraging efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler through the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or warmer over the summer. Then, dress for 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 kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly via energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away or sleeping. Automated temperature recovery means you save money without ever losing your sense of comfort. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can set up remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system performs better than a neglected one. You also reduce the risk of equipment failures and the required repair costs. Plus, your heating and cooling is bound to last a few years longer when you take good care of it today.
5. Find and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever multiple building materials are connected. Try to find and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize 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 any cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
Through the summer, you should try to reduce solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is a simple way to accomplish this. If your budget permits, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade over the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.
7. Use Water Effectively
Conserve this limited resource and save on your water bills with some tips:
- Take quick showers as opposed to lengthy baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when you are 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 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. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Replace them with LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline since LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Save money with these tips:
- Close 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 operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Switch off the heated-dry function on your dishwasher.
- Dry clothes outdoors when possible.
- Heat up food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons.
- If your local utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” aim to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Reducing Home Energy Costs
Lots of cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help applying these tips, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We supply affordable maintenance and repair service, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even big upgrades will suit your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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