As energy rates continue to rise, you might be on the lookout for strategies to scale back your usage and save money. Even though big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems can help make your home more efficient, you can reduce energy costs sooner with little to no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and swap it out when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by promoting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home should feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature about 70 degrees or lower in the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher over the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away from home or sleeping. Automated temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Annual HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance delivers a great return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works more effectively than a neglected one. You also lower the risk of malfunctions and the associated repair costs. Plus, your heating and cooling is bound to run for a few years longer when you take good care of it today.
5. Locate and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever multiple building materials are connected. Try to find and fix 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 any cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Put in expanding spray foam near wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
Through the summer, the goal is to block solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish this. If your budget permits, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade over the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this limited resource and save on your water bills with the following tips:
- Take short showers as opposed to lengthy baths.
- Put in low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when you're 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 they aren't being used. 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. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs around the house? Exchange them for LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also go down as LEDs work about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the power hogs of the home. Conserve energy with the following tips: Shut windows and doors when starting 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. Don't use the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Hang your clothes outside to dry when the weather is warm. Reheat food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” try to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, reach out to Barlow Service Experts. We supply affordable maintenance and repair support, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will match your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Barlow Service Experts office today.