As energy rates continue to increase, you may be on the lookout for ways to scale back your usage and save money. Even though larger investments like replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems can help make your home more energy efficient, you can lower energy costs sooner with little to no up-front investment. Here’s how.
1. Check Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and replace it when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by promoting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature at 70 degrees or lower during the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or higher over the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by allowing you to program setback periods while you’re away from home or asleep. Automated temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever losing your sense of comfort. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Keep Up with Annual HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance delivers an excellent return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works better than one that's left alone. You also reduce the risk of equipment failures and the required repair costs. In addition, your heating and cooling is able to run for a few years longer when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Find and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever a couple of building materials are found. Locate and fix these leaks to keep your home comfortable and decrease the strain on your HVAC system. Here are a few tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Put in expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
In the summer, you should try to shut out solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish this. If your budget permits, you could also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade for 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 lower your water bills with the following tips:
- Take short showers as opposed to longer baths.
- Put in low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as soon as possible.
8. Unplug Electronics
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 prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Exchange them for LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also go down because LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Run Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Save money with these tips: Shut windows and doors when using the furnace or air conditioner. Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when the weather is warm. Reheat food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, especially 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
Lots of cost-cutting measures are directly related to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, get in touch with Epperson Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair service, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will suit your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Epperson Service Experts office today.