As energy rates continue rising, you are probably on the lookout for ways to reduce your usage and save money. Although big-ticket investments like 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 how you do that.
1. Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and replace it when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by promoting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. 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 around 70 degrees or cooler in the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or warmer over the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by enabling you to program setback schedules while you’re at work or in bed. Intelligent temperature recovery means you save money without ever losing your sense of comfort. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Implement Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a great return on investment. First, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system performs better than one that's left alone. You also lessen the risk of malfunctions and the associated repair costs. Additionally, your equipment is bound to run for a few years more when you care for it today.
5. Locate and Fix 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 reduce the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a couple of tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
In the summer, your goal is to block solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows through the afternoon is a simple way to do this. If your budget permits, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By selecting deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade for the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this limited resource and save on your water bills with these tips:
- Take shorter showers rather than lengthy baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as quickly as possible.
8. Turn Things Off
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. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Exchange them for LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease as LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Use 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. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and wrap it in an insulating blanket. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Disable the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when you're able to. Heat food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” strive to use energy-heavy 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, reach out to Teays Valley Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair work, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will fit your budget. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Teays Valley Service Experts office today.