Ever since we were kids, we’ve been hearing the same story: save the energy. To be fair, it’s good advice. In addition to helping you keep the power costs down, saving energy also comes with a number of benefits for the environment. Once you become a homeowner, there’s really no reason not to conserve energy at every opportunity you get. If you’d like some help, here are 10 energy saving tips to get you started.
1. Switch to LED Lights
When compared to incandescent light bulbs, LED lights generally run much cooler. The trick is in the efficiency; of all the electricity the standard bulbs consume, only about 10-15% is actually turned into light. The rest of it results in heat, which then needs to be cooled by your air conditioner. If you replace an incandescent bulb with a LED light, you’ll save about $50 over the bulb’s lifetime. Why? LED bulbs can last up to 12 times longer than the ordinary bulbs.
2. Get a Smart Thermostat
Most homeowners already know that turning down the thermostat – even by a single degree – can save you a lot of money in the long run. Still, adjusting the thermostat manually every time you enter or leave the house is kind of a bother. If you’re getting tired of this routine, why not purchase a smart thermostat that can automatically learn your schedule?
Before going through with this plan, however, it’s worth checking in with your utility provider first. Some energy companies will send you smart thermostats for free if you sign up for some of their plans. Many others provide instant rebates on purchase, and there’s generally no paperwork involved.
3. Insulate Your Outlets
These days, many homes have electrical outlets on exterior walls. Most of these outlet boxes don’t have any insulation on them, allowing the air to flow in and out swiftly and consistently. Checking whether your outlets are leaky is simple enough; on a windy day, light a match in front of the outlet and look out for any air movement. If the air is coming through, you can solve the problem by installing a socket sealer or a child-proof outlet cover.
4. Replace HVAC Filters
If your home has a HVAC system, you should know that regular maintenance can make the difference between optimum comfort and unnecessary repairs. One of the key parts of a good maintenance routine is replacing the HVAC filters every 3-6 months, depending on how often you run your unit. Dirty filters can lead to reduced air flow, decreasing your system’s efficiency. If you’re out of luck, a damaged or dirty filter can even cause a system blow-out. Fortunately, replacing air filters is a piece of cake – as long as you’re following the instructions.
5. Check For Gaps Under Doors
Generally speaking, we probably don’t pay enough attention to our doors. Many doors have a rubber gasket at the bottom; though it’s mainly used to seal the perimeter, this gasket is prone to deteriorating at a fast rate due to additional exposure to moisture and dirt. In other words, you could easily have a hole under your door. To check whether that’s true, use the match test from the outlet example. If there’s air movement, the easiest way to fix the issue would be to head to the home improvement store and ask for another door sweep.
6. Air Dry Your Clothes
If you’re not sure how your utility bill is so high, maybe you should start getting suspicious of your clothes dryer. This unassuming machine uses up a lot of energy, and you might be better off not using it every time you need something dried. Instead of that, why not hang the clothes up to dry on your balcony? In addition to saving money, your clothes should last longer and smell better. Plus, you won’t have to worry about any toxic chemicals polluting the environment.
7. Use Ceiling Fans
More often than not, the air conditioner will be the most power-hungry appliance in your home – by far. Therefore, any alternative methods of increasing your house temperature will have a big positive impact on your electric bill. One of the most popular energy saving strategies is to use a ceiling fan; costing approximately a penny per hour, these fans are a perfect companion to your air conditioner. Keep in mind that ceiling fans only cool your skin, and not the rooms themselves, so make sure to turn them off when you leave the house.
8. Fix Leaky Windows
Did you know that a single 1/32 inch gap around a window is equivalent to a 6.5 square inch hole in a wall? That’s a lot of air escaping through those holes, especially if you have a lot of windows in your house. If you detect air leaks around your windows, you might want to consider weatherstripping them to save some money.
Peal-and-stick weatherstripping is something any homeowner can do, and it’s very effective at preventing air drafts. All you have to do is remove any dirt from the window frame, cut the right amount of weatherstrip, peel it off and put the sticky part on the surface. This method could end up saving you 10-20% of your yearly heating costs.
9. Sign a HVAC Service Contract
As we’ve previously established, HVAC systems can have their lifespan cut short by unforeseen circumstances. Replacing them usually costs a fortune, so it’s probably a good idea to be ready in case of an emergency. If you sign up for a HVAC service contract, you’ll be paying a set fee to your HVAC provider in exchange for their ongoing services. Maintenance contracts are often a waste of money, but this one can be classified as an exception that proves the rule.
10. Insulate Your Kitchen Sink
If your kitchen sink is placed on an exterior wall, you might have to worry about the possibility of warm air escaping through exterior openings. The best way to find out whether you have an air leak is to check the difference in temperature between the hole and the area around the hole. If you’re getting wildly different readings, you can purchase some expanding foam and spray it into every visible crevice on the exterior wall.
For more energy saving tips or to talk to an expert, feel free to reach out to the professionals at Tropical Heating and Air. From heater installation and repair to service and maintenance on your cooling system, Tropical’s HVAC Service can help keep your home in comfort anywhere throughout Orange County, Ca.
Tropical Heating and Air – (949) 709 – 8132