As energy rates continue to rise, you might be on the lookout for tips to reduce your usage and save money. Although big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems certainly make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs today with little to no up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Check the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter each month and swap it out when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by promoting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will also feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Set Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Maintain the temperature around 70 degrees or lower through the winter and adjust it to 77 degrees or warmer over the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re still using an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by enabling you to program setback periods while you’re at work or sleeping. Automated temperature recovery means you lower costs without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can set up remotely for even greater opportunities to save.
4. Prioritize Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a good return on investment. First, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system runs more efficiently than a neglected one. You also lower the risk of breakdowns and the necessary repair costs. In addition, your heating and cooling is able to run for a few years longer when you take good care of it today.
5. Locate 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 minimize the strain on your HVAC system. Here are some tips:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors close more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Add 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
During the summer, your goal is to reduce solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows through the afternoon is a simple way to handle this. If your budget permits, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By choosing deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade in the summer while still enabling 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 shorter showers instead of long baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut 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. 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 not in use. Additionally, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to prevent small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Replace them with LEDs to save up to 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease because LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Save money with these tips: Shut windows and doors when starting the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Don't use 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, particularly on summer afternoons. If your local utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” aim to use any 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 applying these tips, reach out to Orangutan Home Services. We offer affordable maintenance and repair service, alongside cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even big upgrades will suit your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Orangutan Home Services office today.