As energy rates continue rising, you are probably on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. While big-ticket investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-efficiency HVAC systems certainly make your home more efficient, you can cut energy costs right away with little to no up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.
1. Change Your HVAC Air Filter
Check the filter once a month and change it when it appears dirty, or every three months, whichever occurs first. The cost of a new filter can pay for itself by boosting efficiency, providing proper airflow, and keeping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home should feel more comfortable and have cleaner indoor air with a fresh filter in place.
2. Change Your Thermostat for Energy Savings
Keep the temperature at 70 degrees or cooler in the winter and increase it to 77 degrees or higher in the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you still have an old manual thermostat, look for a programmable model. This kind of thermostat pays for itself quickly thanks to energy savings by letting you program setback periods while you’re away from home or sleeping. Intelligent temperature recovery means you save money without ever dealing with an uncomfortable home. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can set up remotely for even more opportunities to save.
4. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance
Preventative maintenance provides a great return on investment. First of all, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a tuned-up HVAC system works better than one that's left alone. You also reduce the risk of malfunctions and the required repair costs. Plus, the system is bound to live a few years more when you take good care of it today.
5. Find and Resolve Air Leaks
Air leaks can develop wherever multiple 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:
- Remove and replace old weatherstripping to help windows and doors are sealed more tightly.
- Re-caulk stationary cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
- Apply expanding spray foam close to wiring, plumbing, ductwork, and other penetrations in the walls, ceilings and floors.
- Close the fireplace damper anytime a fire isn’t being lit.
6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage
During the summer, the goal is to block solar heat gain. Putting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is an easy way to accomplish this. If your budget permits, you could also plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By looking for deciduous trees, you can enjoy a source of shade in the summer while still enabling 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 the following tips:
- Take shorter showers rather than longer baths.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerated faucets.
- Shut off the water when shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Deal with drippy faucets, running toilets, and leaky pipes right away.
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. At the same time, unplug cell phone chargers and other adapters when not in use to avoid small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.
9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs
Do you still have old incandescent bulbs at home? Swap them out with LEDs to save nearly 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decline because LEDs live about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
10. Operate Appliances Efficiently
Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Save money with these tips: Close windows and doors when running the furnace or air conditioner. Adjust the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and install an insulating blanket. Only use the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads. Switch off the heated-dry function on your dishwasher. Dry clothes outdoors when you're able to. 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 during “peak times,” try to use your appliances during low-peak periods.
Get Help Reducing Home Energy Costs
Many cost-cutting measures relate to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help making use of these tips, reach out to Church Services. We provide affordable maintenance and repair service, as well as cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even larger upgrades will match your budget. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Church Services office today.