As energy rates continue to rise, you are probably on the lookout for tips to reduce your usage and save money. Even though big-ticket investments like replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems can help make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs today with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s what to do.
1. Replace Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and change it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever happens first. The cost of a new filter can be recouped by promoting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and preventing the HVAC equipment from overheating. Your home will quickly 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 lower during the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or higher for the summer. Then, wear clothing that suits the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Get a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. This affordable replacement pays for itself quickly in energy savings by allowing you to program setback periods while you’re at work or in bed. 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 more opportunities to save.
4. Implement Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides an excellent return on investment. First, it pays you back by slashing your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system works better than one that's left alone. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the necessary repair costs. Plus, your heating and cooling is more likely to last a few years longer when you keep up with maintenance today.
5. Find and Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks can form wherever a couple of building materials come together. 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 any cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ventilation, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper when a fire isn’t lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
During the summer, your goal is to reduce solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows through the afternoon is a convenient way to handle this. If your budget permits, you can also try to plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy plenty of shade for the summer while still allowing the sun to heat your home for free in the winter.
7. Manage Your Water Use
Conserve this key resource and reduce your water bills with these tips:
- Take short showers rather than long baths.
- Secure low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Turn off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Fix drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes as soon 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. At the same time, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when you don’t need them to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy use.
9. Replace Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Swap them out with LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease as LEDs live 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 running the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Switch off the heated-dry functionality on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when the weather is warm. Heat up food in the microwave instead of the oven or stove, especially on summer afternoons. If the utility provider charges more for electricity through “peak times,” aim to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Lowering Home Energy Costs
A lot of cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, reach out to McKinley Heating Service Experts. We supply affordable maintenance and repair support, alongside cost-effective installation and replacement services. Plus, 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 McKinley Heating Service Experts office today.