As energy rates continue rising, you are probably on the lookout for tips to scale back your usage and save money. While big-ticket investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems absolutely make your home more efficient, you can reduce energy costs today with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s how.
1. Check the HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and replace it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever comes first. The cost of a new filter pays for itself by promoting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home should feel more comfortable and have healthier indoor air with a new filter in place.
2. Adjust Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature about 70 degrees or cooler through the winter and raise it to 77 degrees or warmer for the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Put in a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly via energy savings by enabling you to program setback periods while you’re away from home or sleeping. Automated temperature recovery means you save money without ever losing your sense of comfort. Try to find a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for additional opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance offers a good return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system runs more efficiently than one that's left alone. You also lower the risk of equipment failures and the required repair costs. Additionally, your equipment is more likely to last a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Find and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks may occur wherever a couple of building materials are connected. Try to find and seal up these leaks to keep your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your heating and cooling. Here are some tips:
- Try to replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to seal out air leaks.
- Add expanding spray foam around wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in your walls, ceilings and floors.
- Shut the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
In the summer, you should try to shut out solar heat gain. Closing reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a convenient way to do this. If your budget has room, you can also plant trees on the south and west sides of your home. By selecting deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade for 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 save on your water bills with these tips:
- Take quick showers as opposed to long baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as soon 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. While you’re at it, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Swap Out Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs throughout the house? Swap them out with LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease as LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Save money with any of these tips: Close windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and wrap it in an insulating blanket. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Switch off the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Hang your clothes outside to dry when you're able to. Heat food in the microwave rather than the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If your utility provider charges more for electricity around “peak times,” strive to use any 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 A-PLUS Service Experts. We supply affordable maintenance and repair support, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. Additionally, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will fit your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local A-PLUS Service Experts office today.