With the celebration of Earth Day a few weeks ago and spring cleaning on the minds of countless homeowners, it’s the perfect time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The fact is, with only a few small, inexpensive changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy costs. Here, the home-efficiency professionals from Service Experts share tricks on how to start saving now.
1. Purchase a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat typically saves between 12% to 23% on a power bill, and it’s also a very good tool to reduce carbon emissions from a residence. How do they do it? Smart thermostats go beyond simply programming the time of day for your HVAC system to turn on or off. Some smart thermostats are intuitive and can detect changes in consumption patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed remotely, and can be programmed to send a notification to homeowners about changes that may impact 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. Get a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat arrives, another eco-friendly move is to schedule routine maintenance for your air-conditioning system. It will help homeowners avoid large and costly repairs during the busy season for HVAC service crews and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A routine servicing involves cleaning all of the system’s important components, in addition to testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and replacing clogged or dirty air filters, the condenser located outdoors should also be cleaned and checked.
“During your tune-up, it’s a great time to tap the expertise of an HVAC pro,” noted 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 utility bill. In many homes, air gets out through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has trouble holding a consistent temperature, it may be time to inspect your home's attic insulation. Cold floors could also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t sufficient. All of these problems also lead to increased energy consumption, which leads to elevated 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 the House Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all locations in the home prone 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 simple repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two low-cost tasks that are relatively easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lower the load on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Consider an Energy Zoning System
To create a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC specialist identifies areas in a house based on its layout, sun exposures and the amount of energy demand different areas need. The HVAC pro can then design a system that precisely distributes air throughout the home harmonizing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems often involve several thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When coupled with a smart thermostat, they can substantially 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 permit for major upgrades, replacing traditional 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. Use 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 produce an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce a homeowner’s overall 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 tips to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.