Start saving money with these easy energy-saving tips
If you were able to visualize where you’re wasting money, you’d probably be surprised at how many dollar bills start to fly out your roof. In the real world, we tend to take our utility bills for granted, accepting them for what they are. But, the truth is that your home is probably far from being as efficient as it could be. As a result, you’re wasting both energy and money, every single month of every single year.
It’s time to make some changes. In this article, we’ll review some of the ways you can start conserving energy and lowering your home’s summer and winter utility bills. Here are our best energy-saving tips.
Schedule seasonal HVAC maintenance
It’s important not to forget about or neglect the maintenance needs of your home’s HVAC systems—especially if you want to save money. A professional cooling or heating checkup and inspection can help your systems run more efficiently, lowering your energy bills for the season ahead. As an added bonus, preventative maintenance, true to its name, helps prevent breakdowns and can even extend out the lifespan of your system, helping it run more efficiently and effectively as the years go by.
The best time to book your seasonal tune-up may depend on where you live. If you need heating and cooling in Albuquerque, you should schedule your professional furnace maintenance in the mid-to-late fall as nighttime temperatures stop dropping. However, homeowners in colder cities—like Buffalo or Minneapolis—may need to have a technician out in the early fall or late summer if they want their furnace inspected before the first nights with below-freezing temperatures arrive.
Make energy-efficiency upgrades
If you’re looking to invest back into your home with an eye on future savings, home energy-efficiency upgrades are the way to go. Every dollar you invest will result in a dollar saved on your utility bills in the many seasons ahead. Efficiency upgrades are a way of “future-proofing” your home against rising energy costs. They’re one of the smartest and most forward-thinking investments you can make in your home.
So, where do you start? We’d recommend you head up to the attic. Your home’s attic insulation plays a critical role in its cooling and heating efficiency. In both the summer and winter, poorly insulated attics can lead to significant energy waste. You’ll want to measure your insulation, determine if more is needed, and then hire a professional contractor to install additional insulation until you reach your home’s recommended R-Value.
Of course, this is just the beginning of the efficiency-boosting work you can complete in your attic. If you have an energy specialist out to your home to look at your insulation, also ask them about testing your home’s air ducts for leaks. Air duct leaks are a major contributor to inefficiency, negatively impacting both your energy bills and your home’s comfort. By sealing leaks, reconnecting separated ducts, and repairing any cracks, an energy professional can make your home far more efficient.
Install a programmable thermostat
By now, you no doubt know a family member, friend, or neighbor with a programmable thermostat. These are no longer niche products for the tech-savvy homeowner. They’re mainstream, easy-to-use devices that can save you serious money while automating your home’s comfort.
With a traditional “dial” thermostat, you have to adjust the thermostat anytime you head out of the house for work, go to bed, or leave for vacation. Unfortunately, nobody’s perfect, and many homeowners will accidentally leave their AC running at a lower temperature all day while they’re gone. Programmable (or “smart”) thermostats fill in for us, automating these temperature changes according to your schedule. By doing so, they can cut your cooling and heating costs by up to 10%!
To encourage more homeowners to make the switch to programmable thermostats, local utility companies across the United States are now offering rebates and incentives. Check with yours, and be sure to ask about any special energy conservation programs they offer for extended future savings.
Work with a home energy specialist
By adding more attic insulation, upgrading your thermostat, and scheduling your next tune-up, you’ve made a significant difference in your home’s energy-efficiency. But, this is only the tip of the iceberg: there’s so much more you can do to make your home more efficient. If you’re looking for your next project, talk to a home energy specialist in your area about scheduling a whole-home energy audit. This comprehensive analysis of your home will help identify where the structure is wasting energy, providing you with an individualized assessment of where you need to make changes next.
For even more great tips on how to start saving energy and money, be sure to check out the infographic below. It details exactly how much you could save by sealing your ducts, installing a new thermostat, or adding insulation.