As energy rates continue to increase, you are probably on the lookout for ways to reduce your usage and save money. Even though big investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs sooner with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Replace the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and replace it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by encouraging efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a clean filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler during the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher over the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by allowing you to program setback periods while you’re at work or in bed. Automatic temperature recovery means you save money 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 delivers a great return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works more effectively than one that's left alone. You also reduce the risk of equipment failures and the required repair costs. In addition, your equipment is bound to run for a few years longer when you care for it today.
5. Find and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever two building materials are connected. Locate and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are a couple of tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, ductwork, 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
In the summer, your goal is to block solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy 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 cooling shade for the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.
7. Use Water Effectively
Conserve this limited resource and reduce your water bills with these tips:
- Take shorter showers rather than lengthy baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when you are shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Repair 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 shut them off with the flip of a switch when not in use. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Exchange them for LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease because LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the power hogs of the home. Save money with these tips: Close windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and wrap it in an insulating blanket. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Disable the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Hang your clothes outside to dry when the weather is warm. Heat food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity during “peak times,” aim to use energy-heavy appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting Home Energy Costs
Lots of cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, contact All American Air Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair service, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will suit your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local All American Air Service Experts office today.