Since your home appliances often drain a significant part of energy, thus spiraling your energy bills, you can implement these easy tips to save energy and bring down your bills:
Heating and Cooling
The following are some tips on your home’s ventilating, heating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, which can bring down your utility bills considerably:
- Checking/changing your filter: Remember to change your filter every 3 months, and keep a close check on how clean it is. While a clean filter allows the system to warm or cool without wasting energy and doesn’t need expensive maintenance, a dirty filter runs the risk of system failure and also drains up more energy with minimum utilization.
- Controlling your thermostat: You can bring down your heating bills by keeping your thermostat at a comfortable and energy efficient setting during the day, while turning down the heat at night or when you are not home. Better yet, purchase an Energy Star Thermostat.
- Yearly check-up of your HVAC: By opting for a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system, you can not only improve its efficiency and your comfort, but also take care of malfunctioning and wastage of energy, if any.
- Installation of energy-efficient systems: Get your system tested by a professional HVAC contractor, in case you feel that it’s not working to its full efficiency or needs an upgradation. If you need to buy a new system, invest in energy efficient ones that are likely to bring down your annual energy bills by almost $200.
- Ensure proper installation: Improper installation of your new equipment can not only send your utility bills skyrocketing but may even shorten the equipment’s life and reduce its efficiency by almost 30 percent. So, make sure that you have got it replaced/installed correctly to derive the optimum benefit.
- Keeping a low water temperature: Most water heaters are set at 140 degrees F, which causes your water to be hotter than what is necessary. Only people having a dishwasher without a booster heater may need such hot water. You can easily decrease your water–heating costs by almost 6 to 10 percent if you just bring down the temperature to 120 degrees F.
- Replacing your showerhead: Use a quality low-flow showerhead instead of a standard showerhead. While the former lets up to 1 to 2 gallons of hot water per minute, the latter sprays up to 8 gallons in the same time. Thus, you will hardly notice any difference while taking the shower, but your utility bills will surely have a significant one to boast of!
Weatherizing your home by having adequate insulation and home sealing can reduce your energy costs as well. Here are some great tips.
- Insulate your water heater: Use some fiberglass insulation to cover your water heater tank, which will decrease heat loss by 25 to 45 percent. This will help you save 4 to 9 percent on your water-heating bill.
- The right way of installation: Follow the installation directions properly, as it’s crucial not to obstruct thermostat access panels of electric heaters, as well as the exhaust vents and air intakes on gas models with insulation.
- Insulation jackets and wraps: They can work wonders for water heaters that are located in unheated areas or the ones that have become old.
- Attic insulation: Determine if it is adequate and if not, take steps to get it done. After air sealing, find out the present level of insulation. Use a ruler to measure the depth of existing insulation in your attic. If it is less than R-22 (6 inches of cellulose or 7 inches of rock wool or fiber glass), you may benefit by adding more. Usually, a majority of U.S. homes have attic insulation between R-22 and R-49.
- Low cost options for insulating windows: Adding a layer of plastic or glass on your window will create a dead air space, thus trapping air that is an excellent insulator. Plastic film window kits are another low–cost option, which you can easily install on the outside or inside of your existing windows.
Sealing your Home
- Sealing heating and cooling ducts: Hire a professional to do this and you will stand to save up to $120 (in case you live in coastal areas) and up to $190 (inland) each year.
- Reduce drafts: You can add weather stripping around doors and windows to achieve the objective.
- Reducing air leakage: Try using caulking to seal around plumbing areas, ducts, and any other openings in floors, walls, and ceilings. You can start with your attic, which is a common place from where warm air escapes.
- Sealing larger gaps: There may be larger gaps that need to be fixed as caulk or expanding foam may not serve the purpose here.
- Basement Sealing: Use expanding spray foam, or a caulk gun along with acrylic latex or silicone caulk to seal basement leaks.
- Installing storm windows: After having sealed air leaks around your windows, you can install storm windows to double their insulating value.
- Prevent air leakage via doorframes and windows: Caulk and weather-strip around your doorframes and windows that leak air.
- Find and block other holes in and around the house: Holes around penetrations like vents, pipes, wiring, or recessed lights, that go through the home to the outside, crawlspace, attic, or an unfinished basement should be located and sealed using caulk or spray foam.