In recent years, we have seen significant improvements in the energy efficiency of home appliances. This is especially true when it comes to HVAC equipment and many manufacturers have made great strides to comply with new legislation. There are good reasons to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and even small changes can have a huge impact. It is possible to save 20% or more on monthly energy bills if you follow the seven tips in this article.
1. Install a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat can save an average home 12-23% on their heating and cooling bills. These are the ultimate solutions when it comes to programming and they can be used on the go. These units are Wi-Fi enabled, they can be controlled via an app on your smartphone or favorite mobile device.
The amount of real time control that you have over your HVAC system is truly astonishing. Aside from using programming features, you have automatic error reporting, the capability to make energy saving tweaks, and much more. It’s even possible to set up the system to send an alert if any changes that are made will raise the next energy bill. This is a low-cost way to improve energy efficiency quickly, but there is a caveat. Some older HVAC systems may not be compatible with smart thermostats, but if you’re considering an upgrade they are worth the investment.
2. Add More Insulation
Many homeowners are surprised when they learn that their homes are under insulated. We tend to ignore the insulation needs of our homes which is a huge mistake when it comes to saving energy. Adding insulation is a truly passive way to keep the warm air indoors in winter and vice versa in summer.
Most heating and cooling experts agree that adequate levels of insulation can lower an energy bill by up to 20%. The key locations to insulate include the attic, crawl spaces, the basement, and additions. If a floor feels cold this is probably a sign that the basement doesn’t have sufficient insulation. The great thing about this particular problem is that it’s easy to solve. Simply add more insulation and you will find that the upfront costs are recouped quickly with lowered energy bills.
3. Ensure that the Home is Airtight
There are a number of gaps in the home where treated air can be lost. This will make the home hotter in summer and colder in winter and this can have a dramatic effect on the energy bills. The most likely places to find air gaps include door and window frames, light sockets, and power outlets. There is a low-tech way to ascertain if you have air gaps in your home. Light a candle and run it around the door and window frames and power and light sockets. If the candle flame flickers you have found an air gap and this should be marked with a non-permanent marker or chalk. To seal these gaps, add weather stripping to doors, seal window frame leaks with caulk and install extra insulation around sockets.
4. Install an Energy Zoning System
There will be times when you cool or heat a room that isn’t in use and over time, this waste of energy can really add up. The solution to this problem is a professionally installed energy zoning system. The layout will be determined by a number of factors, including sun exposure, the orientation of the home, the various energy demands in different parts of the home, and more.
The HVAC technician can use this data to configure the energy zoning system to improve the energy efficiency without compromising on home comfort. A system of multiple thermostats connected to specialized ductwork will deliver the treated air to where it’s needed. If this type of zoning is paired with a smart thermostat it’s even more effective with savings of 30% or more on energy bills.
5. Use Energy-Efficient LED Light Bulbs
One of the more affordable upgrades that can be made to improve energy efficiency is the installation of LED light bulbs. These are inexpensive replacements for regular incandescent bulbs and the better models can last for up to seven years! During that lengthy lifespan, an LED light bulb will consume 90% electricity which can really add up over time.
6. Add Solar Energy Panels
There are federal tax credits of up to 30% for homeowners that want to install solar power in their homes. These can be a fantastic supplement source of energy that can offset your energy bills. There are estimates that a solar panel system can produce an average energy saving of $60,000 over the useful lifespan of the equipment. Even with the federal tax credits, this is still a significant upfront cost, but this is potentially a great investment in the medium to long term.
7. Schedule Professional HVAC Maintenance
After installation, an HVAC system will lose some of its performance and energy efficiency every year. Even high-efficiency systems suffer in this way, this is a side-effect of the hard work that these systems are subjected to over the years. But, a great deal of this loss can be offset with regularly scheduled professional HVAC maintenance.
The air conditioner should be serviced prior to the start of the cooling season and the heating system before the colder weather arrives. This will ensure that the equipment is ready for the season ahead and that it will perform efficiently to keep your energy bills lower.
As an added bonus, well maintained equipment is less likely to fail when you need it most and the useful lifespan can be extended. During the tune up, the HVAC technician will identify potential issues that can be fixed at an earlier stage which can lower the costs of replacements and repairs. When you consider the purchase and installation costs of a new HVAC system, it makes good sense to protect that considerable investment.
If you want to spend less on home cooling and heating, contact your local HVAC specialist.