Looking for ways to decrease your energy bills? No matter the season, there are steps you can take to decrease your overall energy usage and, ultimately, your energy costs. And in addition to potential savings, an energy-efficient home is also good for the environment.
1. Air Sealing and Insulation
If you have older, drafty windows, add weatherstripping around the frames and consider adding a sheet of shrink film around the inside of your windows. Seal any cracks in your drywall with a silicone caulk. If you have an unfinished attic, adding insulation can lower the amount of heat leaving your home and require less energy from your HVAC system to maintain the desired indoor temperature. Sealing and insulating your ducts can also be an energy saver. You can do this yourself or hire an HVAC professional.
2. Increase HVAC System Efficiency
According to Energy Star, cooling and heating your home accounts for nearly half of your total energy costs. To keep your system running at peak efficiency, make sure to change the air filters regularly, according to manufacturer instructions. You should have an HVAC professional perform an efficiency tune-up once per year. Constellation offers air conditioning and heating tune-ups by our trained and licensed technicians. Simply schedule service online and our technician will arrive at the time and date selected.
To minimize usage when you are not home, set your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and a few degrees lower in the winter. Your shades can also help you save energy. In the summer, keep shades closed on hot days. In the winter, keep shades open during the day to take advantage of the sunlight. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to ensure that your HVAC system isn’t working overtime to cool or heat an empty home.
3. Control Water Usage
The energy used to heat water makes up close to 20% of your energy bill, according to the Department of Energy. To help lower these costs, try to avoid running your dishwasher or washing machine with less than a full load, and try to wash your clothes in warm or cold water and use cold water for rinsing. Consider installing low-flow showerheads and faucets and be sure to fix any leaks in your fixtures or pipes. And be mindful to not let the water in your kitchen or bathroom run when you are not using it.
In addition to turning off lights when you leave a room, you can save energy by replacing your lightbulbs. Halogen, compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs are more energy-efficient than traditional, incandescent bulbs. While their initial cost is higher, they last longer and use less energy than incandescents, saving you money over their lifetime.
5. Solar Panels
Solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity, can be a significant investment upfront, but if you are planning on staying in your home for eight years or more, they could save you money in the long run. You will want to research your options thoroughly, get estimates from multiple vendors and also consider the timing of your next roof replacement: if your roof will need replacement in the next couple of years, it may be best to wait to install solar panels until the replacement is complete.
6. Energy Audit
A professional home energy audit can evaluate where your home may be losing energy and make recommendations for improvement. Prior to the audit, note any problems, including rooms that are drafty or otherwise difficult to cool or heat, to share with the auditor so they can tailor their inspection to your needs. The auditor will also want to see copies of your recent energy bills to determine your current energy use. Utilizing specific equipment, the auditor will inspect your home’s interior and exterior, assessing air flow, moisture, electrical wiring, insulation and indoor air quality, and will then present you with an analysis and the steps you can take to have an energy-efficient home.
By taking these steps, you may be able to decrease your energy consumption and costs while increasing your home’s value and appeal to potential buyers. To learn more ways to save energy, read our Energy Saving Tips page. Constellation offers all major brands of energy-efficient HVAC systems and water heaters. Contact our Energy & Comfort Consultants for help in choosing the best unit for your home.