10 Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs at Home

As energy rates continue to increase, you are probably on the lookout for ways to scale back your usage and save money. Although big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems absolutely make your home more energy efficient, you can cut energy costs right away with very little up-front investment. Here’s what to do. 

1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter

Check the filter monthly and replace it when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by promoting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will quickly feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a fresh filter in place. 

2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings 

Keep the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler in the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or warmer in the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable. 

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you still use an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by letting you program setback periods while you’re away from home or asleep. Automatic temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever losing your sense of comfort. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can set up remotely for additional opportunities to save. 

4. Implement Yearly HVAC Maintenance

Preventative maintenance provides a great return on investment. First, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system performs more efficiently than a poorly maintained one. You also lessen the risk of equipment failures and the necessary repair costs. In addition, your heating and cooling is more likely to run for a few years longer when you care for it today. 

5. Locate and Resolve Air Leaks 

Air leaks may occur wherever two building materials come together. Try to find and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a few tips: 

  • Replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors are sealed more tightly.  
  • Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks. 
  • Apply expanding spray foam near wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.  
  • Close the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t burning. 

6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage

In the summer, you should try to block solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to do this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade for the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free in the winter. 

7. Use Water Effectively 

Conserve this key resource and save on your water bills with these tips: 

  • Take short showers rather than longer baths. 
  • Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets. 
  • Turn off the water when 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. At the same time, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption. 

9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs

Do you still use old incandescent bulbs around the house? Replace them with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also go down because LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. 

10. Run Appliances Efficiently

Appliances are the energy hogs of the home. Save money with any of these tips: 

  • Close 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 functionality on your dishwasher. 
  • Line-dry clothes when the weather is warm. 
  • Heat up food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. 
  • If the utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” aim to use energy-heavy 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 implementing these tips, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We provide affordable maintenance and repair support, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will fit your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today. 

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