With the celebration of Earth Day a short time ago and spring cleaning on the minds of a lot of homeowners, it’s a great time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The fact is, with only a few small, affordable changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy expenses. Here, the home-efficiency professionals from Service Experts share tricks on how to start saving now.
1. Use a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat typically saves between 12% to 23% on an energy bill, and it’s also a very good tool to lower carbon emissions from a residence. How do they do it? Smart thermostats provide more functions than just programming the time of day for your HVAC system to turn on or off. A number of smart thermostats are intuitive and can detect changes in energy usage patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed while you are away via an app, and alert 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. Schedule a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat arrives, another eco-friendly move is to set up routine servicing and inspection of your air-conditioning system. This 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 important 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,” 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
Putting insulation in a home is a green tip that could help save up to 20% on an energy bill. In many homes, air escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has trouble keeping a consistent temperature, it may be time to inspect your home's attic insulation. Cold floors might also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t sufficient. All of these concerns also lead to higher 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 areas of 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 making some simple repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two inexpensive 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 formulate a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC professional identifies zones 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 correctly distributes air in the home harmonizing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems commonly involve several thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When coupled with a smart thermostat, they can drastically 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. 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 a low-cost, eco-friendly decision with a large impact on the environment. The majority of LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less electricity than traditional bulbs.
7. Consider Solar Energy
With as much as 30% in federal tax credits available to lower 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 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 tips to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.