10 Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs at Home

As energy rates continue to increase, you might be on the lookout for ways to cut back your usage and save money. Although larger investments such as replacing the windows or installing high-performance HVAC systems certainly make your home more energy efficient, you can cut energy costs today with virtually no up-front investment. Here’s how you do that.

1. Change 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 be recouped by promoting efficiency, ensuring proper airflow, and stopping the HVAC equipment from getting too hot. Your home should feel more comfortable and have cleaner 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 adjust it to 77 degrees or warmer in the summer. Then, dress for the season to help you stay comfortable.

3. Get a Programmable Thermostat

If you still have an old manual thermostat, get a programmable model. A smart thermostat pays for itself quickly in energy savings by letting you program setback schedules while you’re away from home or asleep. Automated temperature recovery means you conserve energy without ever feeling uncomfortable. Keep an eye out for a smart Wi-Fi thermostat you can program remotely for additional opportunities to save.

4. Schedule Yearly HVAC Maintenance

Preventative maintenance provides an excellent return on investment. For starters, it pays you back by lowering your energy bills. After all, a well-maintained HVAC system performs more effectively than a neglected one. You also lessen the risk of malfunctions and the required repair costs. Additionally, your heating and cooling is more likely to last a few years longer when you care for it today.

5. Find and Fix Air Leaks

Air leaks can develop wherever two building materials are connected. Locate and seal these leaks to keep your home comfortable and minimize the strain on your HVAC system. Here are some tips:

  • Try to replace old weatherstripping to ensure windows and doors shut more tightly. 
  • Re-caulk the cracks around windows and doors to prevent air leaks.
  • Put in 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 being lit.

6. Use Solar Heat Gain to Your Advantage

Through the summer, you should try to reduce solar heat gain. Shutting reflective curtains over the windows in the afternoon is a convenient way to accomplish this. If your budget has room, you could also plant trees on the south and west sides of your property. By selecting deciduous trees, you can enjoy cooling shade for the summer while still helping the sun to heat your home for free throughout the winter.

7. Use Water Effectively

Conserve this important resource and save on your water bills with the following tips:

  • Take shorter showers instead of long baths.
  • Secure 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 right away.

8. Keep Electronics Off

Plug computers, printers, TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and other electronics into power strips. This way, you can shut 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 you don’t need them to minimize small amounts of “phantom” energy usage.

9. Replace Your Light Bulbs

Do you still have old incandescent bulbs around the house? Exchange them for LEDs to save as much as 70 percent on your lighting bills. Bulb replacement costs also decrease as LEDs last about 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

10. Run Appliances Efficiently

Appliances are the electricity hogs of the home. Lower costs with these tips:

  • Close windows and doors when using the furnace or air conditioner.
  • Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and wrap it in an insulating blanket.
  • Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
  • Disable 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,” try to use energy-heavy appliances during low-peak periods.
  • Get Help Reducing Home Energy Costs

    Many cost-cutting measures relate directly to your home heating, cooling and plumbing systems. If you need help implementing these tips, contact Bob Brown Service Experts. We offer affordable maintenance and repair work, along with cost-effective installation and replacement services. In addition, with financing options available, even big-ticket upgrades will match your budget. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Bob Brown Service Experts office today.

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