Everybody wants a lower monthly utility bill. But unfortunately, not everyone practices energy-efficiency in their home.
We’d like to see that change. We’ll share some tips that’ll make your home more energy-efficient, so you can start saving money every month.
Tips to save energy in your home:
- Upgrade to a programmable thermostat
- Open your blinds in winter, close them in summer
- Seal your air ducts
- Keep your water heater set to the right temperature
- Maintain your heating/cooling system
Let’s go into more detail about each of these tips...
#1: Upgrade to a programmable thermostat
EnergyStar estimates that you can save about $180 a year on energy bills by using a programmable thermostat.
That’s because with a programmable thermostat, you can automatically adjust your home’s temperature, making sure it’s not too high or too low, which saves energy and money.
For example, during the summer, you can set your thermostat to raise the temperature 8°–10° while you’re gone for the day. And right before you get home, a programmable thermostat can automatically adjust to your desired temperature so you’re comfortable when you walk in the door.
For more information about programmable thermostats, check out these related articles:
- 3 Simple Steps to Finding the Perfect Programmable Thermostat
- Buying a Programmable Thermostat? Don’t Make These 4 Mistakes
#2: Open your blinds in winter, close them in summer
It may seem like common sense, but leaving your blinds open in the winter and closing them in the summer can reduce your energy bills.
That’s because in the summer, blinds keep out the sun, which can reduce heat gains by 45%. The less heat your home brings in, the less your AC has to work to cool off your home.
And the reverse is true, too: in winter, when you let heat enter your home, your heating system won’t have to work as hard to keep the temperature warm.
#3: Seal your air ducts
EnergyStar estimates that in most homes, 20–30% of the air that moves through the ductwork is lost to leaks and poorly connected ducts.
That means your heating/cooling system has to work 20–30% harder to keep your house at the right temperature because warm/cool air is escaping through the leaks. And the harder your heating/cooling system works, the higher your energy bills will be.
The best way to prevent this problem is to have a professional inspect your air ducts to make sure there aren’t any leaks or holes. If they find any, they can seal them so air won’t escape from your ductwork any more.
For more information, read our related articles about duct sealing:
#4: Keep your water heater set to the right temperature
Most water heaters should be set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. And for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature below 120, you’ll see a 3–5% reduction in energy costs.
Unfortunately, most water heater thermostats don’t show what temperature they’re set to—they only say “hot” or “warm.”
We’ll show you how you can find out what temperature your water heater is set to, and how to adjust the temperature on the thermostat:
- Go to your kitchen sink and run the hot water until it gets to its hottest temperature. Then, take a thermometer and measure the temperature.
- If the temperature is greater than 120 degrees, go to your water heater and find the thermostat.
- For gas water heaters, you’ll find a red dial at the bottom of the tank near the gas valve.
- For electric water heaters, you’ll find the thermostat behind a screw-on plate or panel. Remove the panel and find the thermostat. An electric water heater may have 2 thermostats, one at the bottom of the tank and one near the top. Be sure to adjust the temperature to both thermostats and make sure they’re set at the same temperature.
- Adjust the temperature and then wait about 3 hours. Check the temperature again to make sure it’s at 120 degrees or lower.
- Repeat the process until you get to your desired temperature.
Want to know more about water heaters? Read our related articles:
- Maintenance & Energy Saving Tips for Your Traditional Tank Water Heater
- Should I Replace My Old Water Heater?
#5: Maintain your heating/cooling system
As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. That’s a lot of energy! So it’s important to make sure your HVAC system is well-maintained, so you don’t pay more than you need to on your energy bills.
Follow these 3 easy tips on how to maintain your heating/cooling system:
- Change your air filter regularly (once a month in spring/summer/fall, and once every 3 months during winter). Simply changing your air filter helps your system run smoothly, which makes it more energy-efficient.
- Leave vents open—even in unused rooms. Often, homeowners think if they close supply vents in rooms they don’t use they’ll save money. But this isn’t the case. It actually makes your heating/cooling system work harder due to increased pressure in the ductwork. Again, more work for your heating/cooling system = higher energy costs.
- Contact a professional to perform annual maintenance on your heating & cooling system. A professional needs to check your system every year to make sure all parts are clean and working correctly. If everything is well-maintained, you’ll save money on your energy bills and prolong the life of your equipment.
Need help making your home more energy-efficient? We can help.
We'll send one of our HVAC techs or plumbers to make sure your systems are in tip-top shape and ready to handle the coming season.
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