With the celebration of Earth Day a short time ago and spring cleaning on the minds of countless homeowners, it’s the perfect time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. In fact, with only a few small, affordable changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy bills. Here, the home-efficiency professionals from Service Experts share tips on how to start saving now.
1. Install a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat normally saves between 12% to 23% on an energy bill, and it’s also a very good tool to lower carbon emissions from a home. How does this happen? Smart thermostats provide more functions than simply programming the time of day for your HVAC system to turn on or off. Some smart thermostats are intuitive and can recognize changes in consumption patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed remotely, and can be programmed to send a notification to homeowners about changes that may cause a major increase to their energy bill.
“This technology saves you money and also makes life easier,” explained 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 starts, another eco-friendly move is to schedule routine maintenance for your air-conditioning system. This will help homeowners avoid significant repairs during the busy season for HVAC service crews 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, plus testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and switching out air filters, the outdoor condenser should also be cleaned and inspected.
“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 electricity bill. In many residences, air escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has problems maintaining a consistent temperature, it may be time to inspect your home's attic insulation. Cold floors may also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t at the level you really need it to be. All of these problems 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 Your Residence Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all places in the home subject 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 embarking on some easy repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two low-cost tasks that are fairly easy to tackle, said Lange, and will reduce the load on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Use an Energy Zoning System
To develop a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC Expert identifies locations in a house based on its layout, sun exposures and the amount of energy demand different areas have. The HVAC pro can then design a system that correctly distributes air through the home weighing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems often involve multiple thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When joined with a smart thermostat, they can substantially 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 permit for major upgrades, replacing standard incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an inexpensive, 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. Use Solar Energy
With as much as 30% in federal tax credits available to bring down 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 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 how to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.