With the celebration of Earth Day a few weeks ago and spring cleaning on the minds of countless homeowners, it’s a great 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 costs. 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 electricity bill, and it’s also a remarkable tool to cut down on carbon emissions from a residence. How is that possible? Smart thermostats provide more functions than only programming the time of day for the heating or cooling system to turn on or off. Some smart thermostats are intuitive and can identify changes in power use patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed while you are away via an app, and notify homeowners about changes that may cause a major increase to their energy bill.
“This technology saves you money and also makes life easier,” said 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 hits, another eco-friendly move is to reach out to an Expert for routine maintenance for your air-conditioning system. It will help homeowners avoid major repairs during the busy season for HVAC pros and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A tune-up 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 outside the house should also be cleaned and checked.
“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
Adding insulation to a home is an eco-friendly tip that could help save up to 20% on an electricity bill. In many residences, air leaks out through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has problems holding 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 satisfactory. All of these worries also lead to higher 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. Make Sure Your Residence 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 hot air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a reminder to green up these areas of the house by making some easy repairs. Replacing old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two inexpensive tasks that are reasonably easy to tackle, said Lange, and will lessen the load on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Think About Developing an Energy Zoning System
To formulate a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC specialist identifies areas 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 correctly distributes air through the home harmonizing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems often use several thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When coupled with a smart thermostat, they can drastically 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. Install Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s budget doesn’t allow 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. Most LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less energy than traditional bulbs.
7. Use Solar Energy
With up to 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 yield 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.
To learn more about tips to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.