With the celebration of Earth Day recently and spring cleaning on the minds of many 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 expenses. Here, the home-efficiency gurus from Service Experts share tricks on how to start saving today.
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 home. How is that possible? Smart thermostats provide more functions than just 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 power use patterns and home activity. They can also be programmed from another location, 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 begins, another eco-friendly move is to reach out to an Expert for an air-conditioning system tune-up. Routine maintenance will help homeowners avoid major 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 inspected.
“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
Installing more insulation in a home is a green tip that could help save up to 20% on a utility bill. In many households, air escapes through attics, crawl spaces and basements. If a room is drafty and has trouble holding a consistent temperature, it may be time to inspect your home's attic insulation. Cold floors could 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 increased 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 the House Is Airtight
Windows, ductwork, light sockets and weather stripping around doors are all locations in the home susceptible to leaks and heat loss or gain (in summer, no one wants steamy air seeping in). Let Earth Day be a cue to green up these areas of the house by making some quick repairs. Swapping out old weather stripping and caulking around windows are two low-cost 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 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 commonly utilize multiple thermostats and adjustments to the ductwork. When joined 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. Use Energy-Efficient Light bulbs
If a homeowner’s finances don't make it possible for major upgrades, replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is a low-cost, 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 some 30% in federal tax credits available to bring down the price 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 household'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.
For additional information about ways to make a home more energy efficient, visit ServiceExperts.com.