For many homeowners, energy bills are a nuisance that seem to get more expensive with each passing month. If you’re one of these homeowners who hates dropping your hard-earned money on these bills, you may be wondering what you can do to use less energy and keep more cash in your pocket.
Here are five simple things you can do to help use less energy and stop spending so much money each month on those annoying energy bills:
1. Add extra insulation to your home
The insulation in your home helps keep warm air from your furnace inside, and also keeps cold air out. When you don’t have enough insulation between your walls and/or roof and the outside environment, heat generated by your furnace or boiler can easily escape. This leaves you with a chilly, uncomfortable home, and it also causes your heating system to work overtime to try and meet the demands set by your thermostat. When your heater is cycling on and off more than it should, it can lead to expensive energy bills, as well as premature wear and tear on its internal components. The same thing can happen in reverse in the summer, with air-conditioned air escaping and your AC working overtime.
An energy audit may be necessary for you to understand where the areas are in your home that need extra insulation. A professional will help you with choosing the proper insulating material for your home’s needs. This is something that will benefit your home throughout each season of the year, not just during the winter. Extra insulation will keep both warm and cool conditioned air inside where it belongs.
2. Install a programmable thermostat
With a programmable thermostat, you can easily set the unit to adjust to a lower temperature for when you’re sleeping or won’t be home. During the winter months, setting your thermostat a few degrees lower could help you to save nearly 10% on your monthly energy bills. The same can be applied to the warmer months of the year, as well. Adjust the thermostat to be a few degrees warmer than what you’d deem as “comfortable” and your cooling system will run less, leaving you with extra green in your wallet when the energy bill gets paid.
3. Replace your air filter on a routine basis
This is a maintenance task that many homeowners seem to forget. The job of your air filter is to keep dirt, dust, pet hair, and other pollutants from passing through from your heating/cooling system to the air that your family breathes. If you don’t replace the filter as often as you should, it gets clogged and it becomes more difficult for conditioned air to pass through. When this happens, your heating and cooling systems must work harder than necessary to help regulate the temperature in your home. A heating/cooling system constantly cycling on will use a lot of energy, and it’ll cost you on your energy bills.
Not sure how often to replace your air filter, or which replacement style you need? Check the owner’s manual that came with your heating system. If you can’t locate the information, the general rule is to replace the filter on a monthly basis during peak heating and cooling seasons. An HVAC professional will be able to assist you if you have additional questions.
4. Check for pockets of air loss
If there are gaps around window and door frames in your home, conditioned air from your heating and cooling systems can escape. Conversely, warm or cold air from outside can make its way into your home and make your family uncomfortable. This makes it difficult for your heating and cooling systems to keep up with the demands set by your thermostat, causing your systems to work overtime. In turn, this can lead to expensive energy bills each month. Again, an energy audit may be helpful in pinpointing areas of air loss.
5. Replace older appliances with more energy-efficient models
Older, less-efficient appliances in your home can be a huge source of wasted energy. As your refrigerator, oven, clothes washer/dryer, heating/cooling systems, etc. age, they may stop working properly and start to use more energy than they once did. It’s also important to replace these appliances as they get older since they could become dangerous to use. Have questions about whether your appliances are running efficiently and/or safely? Scheduling a check-up with an appliance professional may help to put your mind at ease or help guide your decision for replacement.
Following these five tips should help reduce your energy bill each month. If you’ve tried these suggestions and still are seeing skyrocketing energy use in your home, consult an energy expert for further assistance.