As energy rates continue rising, you may be on the lookout for strategies to cut back your usage and save money. Although larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems can help make your home more efficient, you can lower energy costs sooner with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Check Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and swap it out when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by boosting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and preventing 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 around 70 degrees or lower in the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or warmer over the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you still use an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away or sleeping. Automatic temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Keep Up with Annual HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides a great return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system performs more effectively than one that's left alone. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the necessary repair costs. Plus, your equipment is bound to last a few years longer when you take good care of it today.
5. Locate and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever multiple building materials are found. Locate and seal 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 close more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
Through the summer, your goal is to block solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a convenient way to do this. If your budget has room, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade in the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this limited resource and lower your water bills with some tips:
- Take shorter showers as opposed to lengthy baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes right away.
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. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs around the house? Swap them out with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also go down as LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Lower costs with the following tips: Close windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and add an insulating blanket. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Hang your clothes outside to dry when you're able to. Heat food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” aim to use any 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 Neal Harris Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair service, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will match your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Neal Harris Service Experts office today.