With the celebration of Earth Day recently and spring cleaning on the minds of many homeowners, it’s the perfect time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The fact is, with only a few small, economical changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy costs. Here, the home-efficiency pros from Service Experts share tricks on how to start saving right now.
1. Purchase a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat typically saves between 12% to 23% on a power bill, and it’s also a great tool to cut down on carbon emissions from a household. How do they do it? Smart thermostats go beyond only programming the time of day for your HVAC system to turn on or off. Some smart thermostats are intuitive and can identify changes in power use patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed from another location, and can be programmed to send a notification to homeowners about changes that may affect 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 begins, another eco-friendly move is to schedule an air-conditioning system tune-up. Routine maintenance will help homeowners avoid major repairs during the busy season for HVAC pros and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A tune-up 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 switching out air filters, the condenser located outside the house should also be cleaned and checked.
“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 homes, air leaks out through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has difficulty holding a consistent temperature, it may be time to examine the building's attic insulation. Cold floors may also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t satisfactory. All of these problems 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 Your Residence Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all areas of the home susceptible to leaks and heat loss or gain (in summer, no one wants hot air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a signal to green up these areas of the house by doing some quick repairs. Upgrading old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two economical tasks that are fairly easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lessen the burden 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 properly distributes air through the home weighing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems commonly 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 noticeably 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. Use Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s budget doesn’t permit for major upgrades, replacing standard incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an inexpensive, 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. Go Solar
With up to 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 generate an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce your home'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.
To find out more about tips to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.