As energy rates continue to rise, you are probably on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. Although big-ticket investments like replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems can help make your home more efficient, you can reduce energy costs today with little to no up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Change the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and change it when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by boosting efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature around 70 degrees or cooler during the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher over the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly via energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re at work or sleeping. Automatic temperature recovery means you lower costs 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. Keep Up with Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance delivers a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system runs more effectively than a neglected one. You also lessen the risk of breakdowns and the required repair costs. Plus, your equipment is able to run for a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Find and Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever a couple of building materials come together. Locate and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are some tips:
- Try to replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam near wiring, plumbing, air ducts, and other penetrations in your home's walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
Through the summer, the goal is to reduce solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows through the afternoon is a simple way to do this. If your budget allows, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade in the summer while still enabling the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this limited resource and lower your water bills with the following tips:
- Take shorter showers instead of longer baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as quickly as possible.
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 not in use. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Replace them with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease since LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Save money with the following tips: Shut windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Disable the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when the weather is warm. Heat up food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, particularly on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” strive to use energy-heavy 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, get in touch with BW/Cook Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair service, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even big upgrades will match your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local BW/Cook Service Experts office today.