As energy rates continue to increase, you may be on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. Although big investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems can help make your home more efficient, you can reduce energy costs right away with very little up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Replace the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and swap it out when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature around 70 degrees or cooler during the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or warmer in the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you still use an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by allowing you to program setback schedules while you’re at work or asleep. Automated temperature recovery means you save money without ever feeling uncomfortable. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides an excellent return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system works more effectively than a poorly maintained one. You also lower the risk of equipment failures and the associated repair costs. In addition, the system is more likely to live a few years longer when you take good care of it today.
5. Find and Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever two building materials are connected. Find and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and decrease the strain on your HVAC system. Here are a couple of tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Put in expanding spray foam near wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and other penetrations in your home's walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
During the summer, you should try to shut out solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a convenient way to accomplish this. If your budget permits, you could also plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade in the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this limited resource and reduce your water bills with the following tips:
- Take quick showers as opposed to lengthy baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes right away.
8. Turn Things Off
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 you are not using them. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs at home? Swap them out with LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease because LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Run Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Lower costs with the following tips: Shut windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only use 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 rather than the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If your local utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” aim 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, contact Chief/Bauer Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair support, alongside cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big upgrades will match your budget. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Chief/Bauer Service Experts office today.