As energy rates continue rising, you may be on the lookout for ways to scale back your usage and save money. Even though larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems absolutely make your home more energy efficient, you can lower energy costs today with very little up-front investment. Here’s how.
1. Replace the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and change it when it seems dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by encouraging efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home should feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler during the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or warmer for the summer. Then, dress for 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. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by enabling you to program setback schedules while you’re at work or sleeping. Automated temperature recovery means you save money without ever losing your sense of comfort. Look for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Preventative HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides a good return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by reducing your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system performs more efficiently than a neglected one. You also lower the risk of breakdowns and the associated repair costs. Plus, your equipment is more likely to last a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Locate and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever a couple of building materials are found. Try to find and fix these leaks to keep your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are some tips:
- Replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk any cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in your home's walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper whenever a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
During the summer, you should try to reduce solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a simple way to handle this. If your budget allows, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade in the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Use Water Wisely
Conserve this key resource and reduce your water bills with these tips:
- Take short showers instead of lengthy baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes right away.
8. Keep Electronics 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 avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy consumption.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still use old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Swap them out with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease since LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Conserve energy with these tips: Close windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust 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 feature on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when possible. Heat food in the microwave rather than the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” aim to use any appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Cutting Home Energy Costs
Lots of cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, reach out to McElroy Service Experts. We supply affordable maintenance and repair support, alongside cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will suit your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local McElroy Service Experts office today.