With the celebration of Earth Day a short time ago and spring cleaning on the minds of a lot of homeowners, it’s an ideal time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The fact is, with only a few small, affordable changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy bills. Here, the home-efficiency pros from Service Experts share tricks on how to start saving now.
1. Use a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat typically saves between 12% to 23% on an energy bill, and it’s also a very good tool to cut down on carbon emissions from a household. How is that possible? Smart thermostats go beyond simply programming the time of day for the system to turn on or off. A number of smart thermostats are intuitive and can identify changes in consumption patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed remotely, and alert homeowners about changes that may cause a major increase to their energy bill.
“This technology saves you money and also makes life easier,” stated Service Experts’ Lisa Lange. “It’s a low-cost way to improve energy efficiency in your home immediately.”
2. Hire a Professional to Perform a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat begins, another eco-friendly move is to set up an air-conditioning system tune-up. Routine maintenance will help homeowners avoid major repairs during the busy season for HVAC technicians and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A routine servicing involves cleaning all of the system’s major components, in addition to testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and switching out air filters, the condenser located outside the house should also be cleaned and examined.
“During your tune-up, it’s a great time to tap the expertise of an HVAC pro,” explained Lisa Lange. “We encourage customers to ask about thermostat settings, when to change air filters and bring any other questions they may have about the energy efficiency of their home.”
3. Add Insulation
Adding insulation to a home is a green tip that could help save up to 20% on a power bill. In many residences, air leaks out through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has difficulty keeping a consistent temperature, it may be time to check attic insulation. Cold floors might also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t sufficient. All of these worries also lead to increased energy consumption, which leads to increased carbon emissions.
“Many homeowners are surprised when they learn their home is under-insulated, but it’s actually quite common,” said Lange. “The good news is that, just like a smart thermostat, you can see the utility cost savings from this decision very quickly. You will also take comfort in knowing that you are helping improve our environment through reduced emissions.
4. Make Sure Your Residence Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all areas of the home subject to leaks and heat loss or gain (in summer, no one wants muggy air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a reminder to green up these areas of the house by embarking on some easy repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two low-cost tasks that are fairly easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lessen the strain on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Think About Developing an Energy Zoning System
To develop a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC specialist identifies locations in a house based on its layout, sun exposures and the amount of energy demand different areas have. The HVAC pro can then design a system that properly distributes air in the home balancing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems usually use several thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When coupled with a smart thermostat, they can dramatically improve comfort, save customers more than 30% on their energy bill and seriously reduce a home’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“How many times in a day do we heat or cool a room no one is using? It happens all the time, and it adds up to significant energy waste, and these systems are an optimal solution,” Lange said.
6. Buy Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s budget doesn’t allow for major upgrades, replacing regular incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is a low-cost, eco-friendly decision with a huge impact on the environment. The majority of LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less electricity than traditional bulbs.
7. Consider Solar Energy
With as much as 30% in federal tax credits available to bring down the expense of a solar installation, there may never be a better time to install one on a home. Over their lifetime, these quality, energy-producing systems can generate an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce your home's cumulative carbon footprint.
“We have the best program in the country. Our experts will develop an energy savings plan that will help you get the most out of your system and show you’re making a direct positive impact on the environment,” Lange said.
For additional information about how to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.