10 Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs at Home
As energy rates continue to rise, you might be on the lookout for strategies to reduce your usage and save money. Although big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs sooner with little to no up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Replace the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter monthly and swap it out when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by encouraging efficiency, guaranteeing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home should feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature about 70 degrees or cooler in the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher for 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, look for a programmable model. This affordable replacement pays for itself quickly via energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away or sleeping. Automatic temperature recovery means you save money without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance delivers a great return on investment. First, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system works more efficiently than one that’s left alone. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the associated repair costs. Additionally, the system is able to last a few years more when you care for it today.
5. Uncover and Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever multiple building materials are connected. Try to find and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and decrease the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are some tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
Through the summer, you should try to reduce solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows during the afternoon is a convenient way to handle this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. 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 key resource and lower your water bills with the following tips:
- Take quick showers instead of long baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when you’re shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with 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. At the same time, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs around the house? Replace them with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also go down as LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the power hogs of the home. Conserve energy with these tips:
- Shut windows and doors when using the furnace or air conditioner.
- Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and add an insulating blanket.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Disable the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher.
- Dry clothes outdoors when you’re able to.
- Heat up food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons.
- If your utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” try to use energy-heavy appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting Home Energy Costs
A lot of cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help applying these tips, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer affordable maintenance and repair support, alongside cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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