With the celebration of Earth Day a few weeks ago and spring cleaning on the minds of countless homeowners, it’s an ideal time to make homes more earth-friendly and energy efficient. The truth is, 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 pros from Service Experts share tips on how to start saving now.
1. Install a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat typically saves between 12% to 23% on an energy bill, and it’s also a remarkable tool to lower carbon emissions from a home. How is that possible? Smart thermostats provide more functions than simply programming the time of day for the heating or cooling system to turn on or off. Some smart thermostats are intuitive and can recognize changes in energy usage patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed from another location, and notify homeowners about changes that may impact 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. Hire a Professional to Perform a Heating and Cooling System Tune-Up
Before the summer heat arrives, another eco-friendly move is to set up routine servicing and inspection of your air-conditioning system. This will help homeowners avoid significant repairs during the busy season for HVAC professionals and a system that performs optimally minimizes reliance on fossil fuel energy sources.
A routine maintenance appointment involves cleaning all of the system’s major components, in addition to testing and making adjustments to the unit’s operating system. In addition to checking refrigerant levels and changing 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 eco-friendly tip that could help save up to 20% on a power bill. In many households, air escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has trouble maintaining a consistent temperature, it may be time to examine the building's attic insulation. Cold floors might also be a sign that basement insulation isn’t at the level you really need it to be. All of these concerns also lead to additional 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. Ensure Your Home Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all areas of the home prone 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 making some easy repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two inexpensive tasks that are fairly easy to tackle, said Lange, and will reduce the burden on HVAC systems and the electrical grid too.
5. Consider an Energy Zoning System
To formulate a comfort zoning system for a home, a certified HVAC specialist identifies zones 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 throughout the home harmonizing comfort and energy efficiency. These systems usually involve numerous thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When paired 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. Install Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s spending plan doesn't allow for major upgrades, replacing standard incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is an affordable, eco-friendly decision with a large impact on the environment. Most LEDs will last up to seven years and use about 90% less energy than traditional bulbs.
7. Consider Solar Energy
With as much as 30% in federal tax credits available to bring down the cost 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 produce an average savings of about $60,000 and greatly reduce a homeowner’s overall 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 more information about ways to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.