With the celebration of Earth Day a short time ago and spring cleaning on the minds of countless homeowners, it’s an ideal time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. In fact, with only a few small, economical changes, homeowners could be on their way to saving 20% or more on monthly energy expenses. Here, the home-efficiency gurus from Service Experts share tricks on how to start saving right now.
1. Install a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat normally saves between 12% to 23% on an energy bill, and it’s also a great tool to lower carbon emissions from a home. How do they do it? Smart thermostats do more than only programming the time of day for the heating or cooling system to turn on or off. A number of smart thermostats are intuitive and can recognize changes in power use patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed while you are away via an app, and can be programmed to send a notification to homeowners about changes that may affect 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. Schedule a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat begins, another eco-friendly move is to schedule an air-conditioning system tune-up. This will help homeowners avoid large and costly repairs during the busy season for HVAC service crews and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A routine maintenance appointment involves cleaning all of the system’s important components, as well as 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 examined.
“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
Adding insulation to a home is an earth-friendly tip that could help save up to 20% on an electricity bill. In many households, 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 check attic insulation. Cold floors might also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t sufficient. All of these problems 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 places in the home susceptible to leaks and heat loss or gain (in summer, no one wants muggy air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a cue to green up these areas of the house by embarking on some easy repairs. Replacing old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two economical tasks that are reasonably 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 create 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 need. The HVAC pro can then design a system that precisely distributes air in the home weighing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems usually involve multiple thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When coupled with a smart thermostat, they can dramatically improve comfort, save customers more than 30% on their energy bill and seriously 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. Use Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s finances don't allow for major upgrades, replacing regular incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an affordable, eco-friendly decision with a large impact on the environment. Many LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less power than traditional bulbs.
7. Go Solar
With some 30% in federal tax credits available to lower 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 yield an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce a homeowner’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 additional information about tips to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.