As energy rates continue to rise, you are probably on the lookout for strategies to cut back your usage and save money. While larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems certainly make your home more energy efficient, you can reduce energy costs right away with very little up-front investment. Here’s how.
1. Check Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and swap it out when it looks dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by boosting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home should feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature around 70 degrees or lower through the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or higher over the summer. Then, choose clothes that suit 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 via energy savings by allowing you to program setback periods while you’re away from home or in bed. Automatic temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can adjust remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Implement Annual HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance delivers an excellent return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works more effectively than one that's left alone. You also lessen the risk of equipment failures and the necessary repair costs. Additionally, your heating and cooling is more likely to run for a few years longer when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Find and Fix Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever multiple building materials come together. Try to find and seal up 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 help windows and doors shut more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to avoid air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Benefit
Through the summer, your goal is to reduce solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows through the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish this. If your budget has room, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade for the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free during the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this limited resource and reduce your water bills with the following tips:
- Take short showers instead of lengthy baths.
- Put in 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 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 not in use to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Exchange them for LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also go down because LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the power hogs of the home. Conserve energy with any of 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. Don't use the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Line-dry clothes when possible. Heat up food in the microwave as opposed to the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If your local 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
Many cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, get in touch with Midway Services. We offer affordable maintenance and repair service, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will match your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Midway Services office today.