Making your home more energy-efficient means you can maintain the same levels of comfort while using less energy. There’s no need to give up hot showers or to stop running the air conditioning. Energy efficiency is all about finding out where energy is being wasted and using it more effectively. Simple things like tending to HVAC repair as soon as you notice a problem can make a big difference.
8 Tips to Energize your Home
- Trade-in your incandescent light bulbs for LEDs. According to ledlights.org, the average household spends about $80 a month on lighting alone. By using only LED bulbs, that cost would be reduced to about $16. And while you’re at it, turn off lights when they’re not needed. Yes, we know Dads across America have been telling us this for years, but it really is true!
- Wash your clothes in cold water. The average American family does about 400 loads of laundry per year. At that rate, washing in cold water would reduce energy use and net a savings of $136 per year. Even if you still do a few loads in hot or warm water, the energy savings still add up.
- Keep your blinds, curtains, and shades closed in the daytime during the summer months to keep your home cooler and reduce AC use.
- Make sure windows and doors are properly sealed. Check for gaps and air leaks around your home and seal them.
- Adding a layer of insulation in the attic can reduce heating and cooling costs by as much as 10%.
- Keep the oven door closed and use a timer instead of peeking to see if your food is cooked. Every time you open the oven door, the internal temperature drops as much as 25 degrees. This wastes energy bringing the temperature back up and adds minutes to your cooking time.
- Unplug electronic devices when not in use. It takes about two hours for most phones to charge fully. The same is true for most personal electronics. Keeping them plugged in all night wastes energy and increases your power bill.
Tip #8, Appliance and HVAC Repair
This energy-saving tip gets its own category because it’s that important. Studies have shown that regular maintenance of your heating ventilation and cooling system can reduce home heating/cooling costs anywhere from 5 to 40 percent. But many homeowners fail to follow up with maintenance and repair when it’s needed.
There are some tasks you can complete yourself:
- Change the filters. Fiberglass filters cost less but need to be changed more often, about once a month. Pleated air filters provide better quality and last from three to six months, depending on your usage and household. Homes with pets or family members with allergies may want to change their filters more often.
- Visually inspect the outdoor unit, and remove any leaves or debris built up over the winter.
- Clean the metal fins on your AC’s condensing unit once a year. Use a regular garden hose to give it a rinse before using the first time that season.
Scheduling an appointment for yearly maintenance from an experienced technician is one of the best things you can do to save energy and money. As the pros at RJW Mechanical point out, “Energy-efficiency doesn’t stop at installation. Scheduling regular maintenance and making repairs as needed is essential for getting the most from your heating and cooling systems.”