Energy bills are often the second largest household bill people pay after their mortgage payment. Reducing and lowering energy usage starts with determining various ways to conserve energy and make your home more energy efficient.
Energy conservation means finding ways to avoid using energy when there are other viable methods and solutions available. Energy efficiency is key to making home improvements so your energy consumption is reduced while maintaining the comfort of your home.
To help you start making a list of ways on how you can reduce your energy bills, our heating and air conditioning repair technicians offer the following tips and suggestions:
1. Schedule annual maintenance on your furnace and air conditioning.
When there are problems with your heating and cooling system, it will use more energy to heat and cool your home. Annual maintenance can help discover problems and resolve them before they become major repairs, as well as prevent your energy bills from skyrocketing
2. Conduct an energy audit of your home.
An energy audit means going room by room and making a list of anything that uses energy or could be considered an energy waster. For example, if you notice hot or cold air drafts inside the home, your windows could need to be resealed. Do not forget to also include your attic, basement, and garage in your energy audit.
3. Prioritize the items on your energy audit list.
Some items can be quick and easy to take care of while others could cost more to fully resolve. For instance, replacing old light bulbs with LED bulbs is an easy thing to do. On the other hand, upgrading your tank-based water heater to a tankless model would require a slight investment.
4. When not in use, unplug it.
As homes get more and more smart appliances, they continue to use power, even when you have turned them off. Your smart TV, computer, video game system, toaster, and other such items continue to draw electricity and use it even when switched off. Unplugging these things from the wall will stop energy use.
5. Change your furnace and air conditioning filters often.
Dirty filters cause your heating and cooling system to work harder and run more often to heat and cool the home. Get into the habit of inspecting the filter monthly and replace it if needed. Never base filter replacement off the recommended lifespan, as your home may require filters to be replaced more frequently.
6. Vent the heat from your oven into your kitchen in the winter.
If you use your oven to bake after you shut it off open the door and allow the warm air to escape into the kitchen. Doing so will help warm up your home. However, never use your oven as a means to heat the home—that’s what your furnace is for and using the furnace costs less than your oven.
7. Only use the automatic oven cleaning cycle on the coldest winter days.
Automatic oven cleaning cycles will heat up your kitchen. If you run it in the summer, your air conditioning runs more often. By only cleaning the oven in the winter, you can take advantage of the extra heat the oven generates during the cleaning cycle.
8. Wash dishes in your dishwasher.
Washing dishes by hand uses more hot water and energy than a water-efficient and energy-saving modern dishwasher. To cut your energy bill even more, shut off the heated dry cycle. At the end of the wash cycle, open the door on the dishwasher, pull the racks out, and allow your dishes to air dry.
9. Turn down the setting on your water heater.
Lowering the water temperature a few degrees on a tank-based heater can reduce your energy bills. Setting it below 140 degrees Fahrenheit will still provide plenty of hot water for your entire home.
10. Have your heating and cooling repair technician install a programmable thermostat.
Controlling and scheduling different temperature levels will effectively help lower energy usage. For instance, you can program one setting when everyone is gone during the day and another for when you are at home.
11. Adjust your thermostat up or down a few degrees.
A two-degree difference in heating and cooling can help lower energy bills quite a bit.
12. Insulate your water heater.
Another thing you can do to reduce energy bills is to wrap your tank-based heater in an insulated blanket. The insulation helps stop heat transfer loss so the water heater does not run as often to maintain the preset water temperature level.
13. Wash clothes in cold water.
Just about all of your laundry can be completed on the cold water setting. If you must use warm or hot water cycles, make sure the rinse cycle is set to cold so you can still save a little on energy usage.
14. Dry your clothes outside on a clothesline.
You can let Mother Nature naturally dry your clothes and skip running the dryer most of the year. Plus, if you have difficult stains to remove, the UV rays of the sun act as a natural stain remover!
15. Have low-flow faucets installed in your home.
Low-flow faucets use a fraction of the water regular ones use. This can help cut your water bill and save on your overall energy bills.
16. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
Another way to reduce water usage is to shut off the water and only turn it back on when you are ready to rinse.
17. Get low-flush toilets installed.
You can have your plumber replace the existing flushing mechanism with a low-flush one or upgrade to a new toilet. Either way, you will use less water that will translate to energy savings.
18. Top off your attic insulation.
You would be surprised by how many attics are not properly insulated. Adding several layers of insulation helps prevent heat/cold air transfer to/from the attic into and out of the home.
19. Insulate the underside of your ground floor.
Another way to keep heat and cold air inside your home is to add insulation under the subflooring of the ground floor. This is easy to do whether you have a basement or crawl space.
20. Cook meals on your gas grill outdoors in the summer.
Using your stove or oven in the summer increases the amount of warm air inside the home. This will cause your AC to run more often and use more energy.
21. Get your air ducts and vents cleaned and sealed.
Dust, dirt, and debris in air ducts and vents can restrict air flow and make your furnace and AC work harder. The same is true if there are air leaks in the ducts.
22. Never put a second freezer or refrigerator in your garage.
Your garage is not as well insulated as your house, and it causes the freezer or refrigerator to run constantly to maintain temperature levels and increase your energy bills. Instead, put it in your basement or laundry room.
23. Install ceiling fans and adjust fan direction seasonally.
Ceiling fans help keep room temperatures more even and can help lower energy bills.
24. Replace burnt-out light bulbs with LED bulbs.
You can gradually upgrade your home’s lighting to LED lights by replacing bulbs as needed. If you want to increase energy savings faster, swap out all the bulbs at once.
25. Upgrade holiday lights to LED lights.
When the holidays roll around, and you are putting up your lighted decorations, upgrade to LED lights to reduce the amount of energy in lighting up your displays and tree.
26. Insulate your hot water pipes.
Another way to reduce energy usage is to insulate all accessible hot water lines. You may also want to insulate cold water lines if they are under your home in a crawl space. Cold water pipes run the risk of freezing if exposed in the winter.
27. Upgrade to Energy Star® Certified appliances.
Anytime you need to replace an older appliance, make sure to choose one that is Energy Star® Certified and includes energy-saving features.
By implementing and following these great energy-saving tips, you are sure to lower and reduce your energy bills.\
To schedule heating and air conditioning repair or maintenance service, please contact A+ Services at 360-464-2493 today! We also offer electrical, plumbing, water heater, and septic services for your Olympia, Thurston, and Pierce County area home.