With the celebration of Earth Day a short time ago and spring cleaning on the minds of many homeowners, it’s the perfect time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The truth is, with only a few small, affordable changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy bills. Here, the home-efficiency specialists from Service Experts share techniques on how to start saving now.
1. Purchase a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat usually saves between 12% to 23% on an electricity bill, and it’s also a great tool to cut down on carbon emissions from a home. How is that possible? Smart thermostats provide more functions than just programming the time of day for the heating or cooling system to turn on or off. Some smart thermostats are intuitive and can identify changes in consumption patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed from another location, and alert homeowners about changes that may affect their energy bill.
“This technology saves you money and also makes life easier,” explained 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 starts, another eco-friendly move is to schedule routine servicing and inspection of your air-conditioning system. Routine maintenance will help homeowners avoid large and costly repairs during the busy season for HVAC technicians 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 changing out air filters, the condenser located outdoors should also be cleaned and inspected.
“During your tune-up, it’s a great time to tap the expertise of an HVAC pro,” noted 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 an energy bill. In many households, air gets out through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has trouble holding 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 at the level you really need it to be. All of these worries also lead to additional energy consumption, which leads to elevated 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 susceptible 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 doing some simple repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two economical tasks that are relatively easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lower the strain on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Consider an Energy Zoning System
To develop a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC specialist identifies zones in a house based on its layout, sun exposures and the amount of energy demand different areas require. The HVAC pro can then design a system that correctly distributes air throughout the home weighing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems commonly use numerous thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When joined with a smart thermostat, they can substantially improve comfort, save customers more than 30% on their energy bill and noticeably 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 spending plan doesn't permit for major upgrades, replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an affordable, eco-friendly decision with a huge impact on the environment. The majority of LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less electricity than traditional bulbs.
7. Use Solar Energy
With as much as 30% in federal tax credits available to reduce the price 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 a homeowner’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 more information about tips to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.