7 Tips for a More Earth-Friendly and Energy-Efficient Home
With the celebration of Earth Day recently and spring cleaning on the minds of countless homeowners, it’s the perfect time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. In fact, with only a few small, economical changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy costs. Here, the home-efficiency specialists from Service Experts share tricks on how to start saving now.
1. Use a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat normally saves between 12% to 23% on an electricity bill, and it’s also a very good tool to cut down on carbon emissions from a residence. How is that possible? Smart thermostats go beyond just programming the time of day for the system to turn on or off. A number of smart thermostats are intuitive and can recognize changes in power use patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed from another location, and alert homeowners about changes that may impact their energy bill.
“This technology saves you money and also makes life easier,” said Service Experts’ Lisa Lange. “It’s a low-cost way to improve energy efficiency in your home immediately.”
2. Get a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat hits, another eco-friendly move is to reach out to an Expert for routine servicing and inspection of your air-conditioning system. This will help homeowners avoid significant repairs during the busy season for HVAC professionals and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A routine maintenance appointment involves cleaning all of the system’s important components, plus testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and switching out air filters, the condenser located outside the house should also be cleaned and checked.
“During your tune-up, it’s a great time to tap the expertise of an HVAC pro,” explained Lisa Lange. “We encourage customers to ask about thermostat settings, when to change air filters and bring any other questions they may have about the energy efficiency of their home.”
3. Add Insulation
Putting insulation in a home is a green tip that could help save up to 20% on a power bill. In many households, air escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has trouble keeping a consistent temperature, it may be time to inspect your home's attic insulation. Cold floors might also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t satisfactory. All of these concerns also lead to additional energy consumption, which leads to more carbon emissions.
“Many homeowners are surprised when they learn their home is under-insulated, but it’s actually quite common,” said Lange. “The good news is that, just like a smart thermostat, you can see the utility cost savings from this decision very quickly. You will also take comfort in knowing that you are helping improve our environment through reduced emissions.
4. Ensure Your Home Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all places in the home subject to leaks and heat loss or gain (in summer, no one wants hot air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a cue to green up these areas of the house by embarking on some simple repairs. Upgrading old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two economical tasks that are fairly easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lessen the strain on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Think About Developing an Energy Zoning System
To develop a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC professional identifies zones in a house based on its layout, sun exposures and the amount of energy demand different areas have. The HVAC pro can then design a system that properly distributes air throughout the home weighing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems usually use numerous thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When paired with a smart thermostat, they can drastically improve comfort, save customers more than 30% on their energy bill and greatly reduce a home’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“How many times in a day do we heat or cool a room no one is using? It happens all the time, and it adds up to significant energy waste, and these systems are an optimal solution,” Lange said.
6. Install Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s budget doesn’t permit for major upgrades, replacing regular incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an inexpensive, eco-friendly decision with a big impact on the environment. Most LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less energy than traditional bulbs.
7. Go Solar
With up to 30% in federal tax credits available to lower the expense of a solar installation, there may never be a better time to install one on a home. Over their lifetime, these quality, energy-producing systems can produce an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce your home's cumulative carbon footprint.
“We have the best program in the country. Our experts will develop an energy savings plan that will help you get the most out of your system and show you’re making a direct positive impact on the environment,” Lange said.
For additional information about how to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.