With the celebration of Earth Day a few weeks ago and spring cleaning on the minds of many homeowners, it’s a great time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The truth 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 professionals from Service Experts share techniques on how to start saving now.
1. Purchase a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat normally saves between 12% to 23% on a power bill, and it’s also a very good tool to cut down on carbon emissions from a residence. How does this happen? Smart thermostats go beyond just programming the time of day for the heating or cooling system to turn on or off. A number of smart thermostats are intuitive and can identify changes in power use patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed while you are away via an app, 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 schedule routine maintenance for your air-conditioning system. Routine maintenance will help homeowners avoid significant repairs during the busy season for HVAC technicians and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A tune-up involves cleaning all of the system’s major components, plus testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and switching out air filters, the condenser located outdoors should also be cleaned and inspected.
“During your tune-up, it’s a great time to tap the expertise of an HVAC pro,” said 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
Installing more insulation in a home is an eco-friendly tip that could help save up to 20% on an energy bill. In many households, air escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has problems 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 concerns also lead to additional 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 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 signal to green up these areas of the house by doing some easy repairs. Replacing old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two economical tasks that are relatively easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lower the strain 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 have. The HVAC pro can then design a system that properly distributes air throughout the home harmonizing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems commonly utilize numerous 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 make it possible for major upgrades, replacing standard incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an affordable, eco-friendly decision with a big impact on the environment. Many LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less power than traditional bulbs.
7. Consider Solar Energy
With some 30% in federal tax credits available to reduce the cost 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 yield 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.
To learn more about tips to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.