As energy rates continue rising, you may be on the lookout for strategies to scale back your usage and save money. Even though big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems absolutely make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs right away with very little up-front investment. Here’s how.
1. Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and change it when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by promoting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or lower during the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or warmer in the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you still use an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly via energy savings by enabling you to program setback schedules while you’re away from home or asleep. Automatic temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides an excellent return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system performs more effectively than a neglected one. You also lower the risk of equipment failures and the associated repair costs. Plus, the system is bound to live a few years longer when you care for it today.
5. Find and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever multiple building materials come together. Find and fix these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your HVAC system. Here are some tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam near wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and other penetrations in your home's walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t burning.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
During the summer, the goal is to reduce solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a simple way to do this. If your budget has room, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade over the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this limited resource and save on your water bills with these tips:
- Take shorter showers instead of long baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when you're shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as quickly 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 you are not using them. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Swap them out 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 bulbs.
10. Run Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Lower costs with these tips: Shut windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and add an insulating blanket. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Switch off the heated-dry feature on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when you're able to. Heat up food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your local utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” try to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
A lot of cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, reach out to Knochelmann Service Experts. We supply affordable maintenance and repair work, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will match your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Knochelmann Service Experts office today.