With the celebration of Earth Day recently and spring cleaning on the minds of a lot of homeowners, it’s a great time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. In fact, with only a few small, inexpensive changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy expenses. Here, the home-efficiency pros from Service Experts share tips on how to start saving right now.
1. Install a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat usually saves between 12% to 23% on an energy bill, and it’s also a remarkable tool to reduce carbon emissions from a residence. How do they do it? Smart thermostats go beyond just programming the time of day for the heating or cooling system to turn on or off. Some smart thermostats are intuitive and can detect changes in consumption patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed while you are away via an app, and notify homeowners about changes that may affect their energy bill.
“This technology saves you money and also makes life easier,” explained Service Experts’ Lisa Lange. “It’s a low-cost way to improve energy efficiency in your home immediately.”
2. Get a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat hits, another eco-friendly move is to set up routine maintenance for your air-conditioning system. It will help homeowners avoid major repairs during the busy season for HVAC technicians and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A routine maintenance appointment involves cleaning all of the system’s important components, in addition to testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and replacing clogged or dirty air filters, the condenser located outdoors should also be cleaned and examined.
“During your tune-up, it’s a great time to tap the expertise of an HVAC pro,” noted Lisa Lange. “We encourage customers to ask about thermostat settings, when to change air filters and bring any other questions they may have about the energy efficiency of their home.”
3. Add Insulation
Putting insulation in a home is an earth-friendly tip that could help save up to 20% on an electricity bill. In many households, air gets out through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has difficulty maintaining a consistent temperature, it may be time to check attic insulation. Cold floors may also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t satisfactory. All of these worries also lead to additional energy consumption, which leads to increased carbon emissions.
“Many homeowners are surprised when they learn their home is under-insulated, but it’s actually quite common,” said Lange. “The good news is that, just like a smart thermostat, you can see the utility cost savings from this decision very quickly. You will also take comfort in knowing that you are helping improve our environment through reduced emissions.
4. Ensure Your Home Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all areas of the home prone to leaks and heat loss or gain (in summer, no one wants steamy air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a reminder to green up these areas of the house by doing some simple repairs. Replacing old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two low-cost tasks that are fairly easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lessen the burden on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Use an Energy Zoning System
To develop a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC Expert identifies zones in a house based on its layout, sun exposures and the amount of energy demand different areas need. The HVAC pro can then design a system that correctly distributes air through the home balancing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems usually involve multiple thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When paired with a smart thermostat, they can dramatically improve comfort, save customers more than 30% on their energy bill and greatly reduce a home’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“How many times in a day do we heat or cool a room no one is using? It happens all the time, and it adds up to significant energy waste, and these systems are an optimal solution,” Lange said.
6. Install Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s budget doesn’t permit for major upgrades, replacing regular incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an affordable, eco-friendly decision with a large impact on the environment. Most LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less energy than traditional bulbs.
7. Go Solar
With as much as 30% in federal tax credits available to reduce the cost of a solar installation, there may never be a better time to install one on a home. Over their lifetime, these quality, energy-producing systems can produce an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce a household's total carbon footprint.
“We have the best program in the country. Our experts will develop an energy savings plan that will help you get the most out of your system and show you’re making a direct positive impact on the environment,” Lange said.
For more information about ways to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.