With the celebration of Earth Day a few weeks ago and spring cleaning on the minds of countless homeowners, it’s an ideal time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. In fact, 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 tips on how to start saving right now.
1. Purchase a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat typically saves between 12% to 23% on an energy bill, and it’s also a great tool to cut down on carbon emissions from a household. How do they do it? Smart thermostats do more than simply programming the time of day for the heating or cooling system to turn on or off. Some smart thermostats are intuitive and can recognize changes in energy usage patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed from another location, 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. Schedule a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat hits, another eco-friendly move is to set up routine maintenance for your air-conditioning system. This 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 maintenance appointment involves cleaning all of the system’s key 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 outdoor condenser should also be cleaned and inspected.
“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 an earth-friendly tip that could help save up to 20% on a power bill. In many residences, air escapes 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 could also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t at the level you really need it to be. All of these worries also lead to additional energy consumption, which leads to more 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 susceptible to leaks and heat loss or gain (in summer, no one wants steamy air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a signal to green up these areas of the house by embarking on some simple repairs. Upgrading old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two inexpensive tasks that are fairly easy to tackle, said Lange, and will reduce the strain on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Think About Developing an Energy Zoning System
To create a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC professional identifies locations in a house based on its layout, sun exposures and the amount of energy demand different areas require. The HVAC pro can then design a system that properly distributes air throughout the home harmonizing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems usually utilize several thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When joined with a smart thermostat, they can substantially improve comfort, save customers more than 30% on their energy bill and greatly 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. Install Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s finances don't make it possible for major upgrades, replacing regular incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is a low-cost, eco-friendly decision with a large impact on the environment. Most LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less energy than traditional bulbs.
7. Use Solar Energy
With as much as 30% in federal tax credits available to lower 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 yield an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce your home's total 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 find out more about ways to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.