As the seasons change, we adapt. For example, as spring turns to summer, we prep our homes for hot and humid air. Now, as fall gradually turns to winter, we prep our homes for cold weather and winter storms. However, the thing that doesn’t change is our energy usage. Regardless of the season, we either heat or cool our homes. As a result, many of us seek energy saving tips that reduce our energy usage and help save some money.
So, as the leaves continue to change and gradually fall from the trees, how do many fall home maintenance activities help reduce energy?
Inspect and Clean the Air Ducts
Air ducts get a lot of work during the summer. Over time, they collect dust, pollen and other allergens that circulate throughout your home. Prior to air sealing your home for winter, clean the air ducts to remove these contaminants.
Insulation and Air Sealing
Air sealing and insulation are the best ways to keep your home warm in the winter. If you experienced drafts during the summer, the seal your windows.
Check the Furnace Filter
As the winter approaches, you do not want any heating issues. Replacing the furnace filter also acts as a reminder to schedule preventative maintenance on your heating system. Many common heating problems vary based on your specific heating system. Your home heating system could be needing a repair for a laundry list of reasons including:
- Blower fan burnout.
- Faulty wiring, blown fuse, or tripped circuit breakers.
- Problems with your thermostat.
- Clogged filter.
- Ignition failure.
- Leaking pipes.
- Controls are not working properly.
Interested in learning more energy saving tips?
Identify Energy Saving Tips with an Audit
The best place to uncover energy saving tips customized for your home is an energy audit.
Why are energy audits so important?
A comprehensive energy assessment provides a roadmap to fix energy efficiency issues with your home. For example, a quality energy audit follows diagnostic testing, including a blower door test, that demonstrates how air leaks from your home. Therefore, you can see the air leaks and learn how to fix them. As a result, once these issues are fixed:
- Save up to 30% on utility bills by analyzing home energy consumption and implementing upgrades.
- Stop air leaks around walls, ceilings, windows, doors, fixtures, light switches and electrical outlets to save 20% on heating bills.
- Install a programmable thermostat and save an additional 10%.
However, don’t just take our word for it. From forum to forum, when homeowners ask how for energy saving tips, the common answer is an energy audit.
“Energy audit is definitely the first thing you should do. You can hire a professional to do it or you can go through a checklist like the one you can find here. Someone else mentioned that they considered heating a cooling to be the largest expenses of owning or running a building, and that is true, not just their opinion. Heating and coolings costs can amount to 40-60% of a building’s operating cost (This came from a Civil engineering sustainability class I took).
Some other easy things to do include pulling your refrigerator a few more inches out from the wall, which increases airflow and reduces the power needed to keep it cold, and filling the empty space in your fridge/freezer with stuff, be it food or water/ice jugs. That helps the space stay cold even when you open the door and reduces the amount of air you need to recool. And if you go for an energy star washer or dryer the washing machine is more important because the amount of water left in the clothes is what determines how much energy goes into drying them.”
As noted, professional energy audits provide a large return on your investment. However, there are also some DIY energy saving tips you can complete as well. These tips range from inexpensive to expensive.
- Insulate the small stuff and leaks around windows or doors with caulk.
- Replace your AC and heater filters at the designated times.
- Clean your lint trap.
- Purchase a programmable thermostat. Plus, adjust away and sleep times.
- Wash clothes with warm water (vs. hot water).
- Avoid or limit the use of the dishwasher (time pending).
- Install low flow faucets and showers.
- Reduce (or close) your A/C and/or heating vents for low or no traffic rooms.
Top 10 Energy Saving Tips
In addition to having a quality energy audit completed on your home, here are 10 energy saving tips that will help you start saving today.
- Get in the habit of switching lights off when they are not needed.
- Replace standard and CFL light bulbs with LED lighting.
- Install and use ENERGY Star labeled appliances including refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, dehumidifiers and air purifiers.
- Stop using old refrigerators and/or freezers in the basement or garage.
- Televisions, computers, ceiling fans, etc. all use electricity. Turn off when not in use.
- High-efficiency heating and cooling systems save electricity due to their high efficiency components.
- Conserving hot water use for homes with electric water heaters saves electricity.
- Avoid using electric space heaters and/or dehumidifiers or only use when necessary.
- Insulate and air seal your home and save significantly on furnace fan energy usage, electrical heating and air conditioning costs.
- Pool pumps, hot tubs and jacuzzis use significant amounts of electricity. Variable speed pumps or smart controllers save significant amounts of energy for homes with pools or spas.
Standard Energy Saving Tips for Every Season
To help reduce your energy use (and bill) all year long, then here are a few energy efficient actions that make a difference.
- Maintain Your HVAC System
Find a qualified HVAC technician to inspect your heating system before winter hits. Also, ask the tech provide a small training so you know how to clean your HVAC system because this is essential to keeping the system running smoothly throughout the year.
- Insulate Your Home
Air seeps through cracks in the attic and walls, so prevent warm air from leaking out of your home. As a result, insulate the attic, which accounts for about 30% of a cooling system’s energy consumption. Proper insulation, not only cuts down on excess noise, but more importantly permits better temperature and humidity control in your home, while saving up to 20% on your energy bill.
At SolvIt, we simply want to help homeowners enjoy their homes. If you have any questions on how to keep your home more comfortable, then don’t hesitate to call – we are here 24/7 to help!