With the celebration of Earth Day recently and spring cleaning on the minds of countless homeowners, it’s the perfect time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The truth 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 professionals from Service Experts share tips on how to start saving right now.
1. Use a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat usually saves between 12% to 23% on an electricity bill, and it’s also a great tool to reduce carbon emissions from a home. How do they do it? Smart thermostats provide more functions than only programming the time of day for the system to turn on or off. A number of smart thermostats are intuitive and can recognize changes in consumption patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed from another location, and notify homeowners about changes that may impact 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. Hire a Professional to Perform a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat hits, another eco-friendly move is to set up routine servicing and inspection of your air-conditioning system. It will help homeowners avoid large and costly repairs during the busy season for HVAC pros and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A routine servicing involves cleaning all of the system’s key components, as well as testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and changing out air filters, the condenser located outdoors should also be cleaned and inspected.
“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 escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has difficulty keeping a consistent temperature, it may be time to inspect your home's attic insulation. Cold floors could also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t sufficient. All of these worries also lead to increased energy consumption, which leads to elevated 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. Ensure Your Home 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 steamy air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a reminder to green up these areas of the house by making some easy repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two economical tasks that are relatively easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lessen the burden on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Think About Developing an Energy Zoning System
To develop 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 need. The HVAC pro can then design a system that properly distributes air throughout the home weighing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems often utilize multiple thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When coupled 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 budget doesn’t permit for major upgrades, replacing regular incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an affordable, eco-friendly decision with a huge 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 up to 30% in federal tax credits available to reduce 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 produce an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce your home's cumulative 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.
For more information about how to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.