6 Ways to Slash Your Home Energy Costs this Season
Spending money on holiday decorations, parties, and gifts can leave many people looking for ways to cut corners. The home is a good place to start since heating and cooling is responsible for nearly half of all household energy use, according to RSI. Fortunately, there are simple-yet-effective things you can do to help reduce those costs. To slash your home energy charges, practice these six green techniques for reducing energy waste and improving the efficiency of your home.
1. Maintain Your HVAC System
Your home heating and cooling system is a complex network of parts and processes that work together to keep you comfortable throughout the year. If you aren't informed and careful about your HVAC use, these parts will work harder than necessary, and your utility bill will prove it. Prevent unnecessary expenses and energy waste by replacing your air filters regularly and scheduling tune-ups.
2. Seal Your Windows and Doors
It's important to close your windows and doors when the heat or A/C is on, but this won't prevent drafts and heat gain unless the openings are completely sealed. According to Consumer Reports, caulking and weather stripping will make your home more energy-efficient, so it's important to inspect your window and door frames regularly and replace sealant as needed.
3. Adjust Your Temperature
Instead of keeping your thermostat on the same setting all year long, adjust your indoor temperature slightly to reflect seasonal changes and household activity. If you're looking for other free ways to save energy at home, the U.S. Department of Energy also recommends lowering the temperature on the water heater to 120° Fahrenheit.
4. Upgrade to Greener Appliances
As appliances lose their efficiency over time, you waste money and energy for subpar results. Invest in new, energy-efficient appliances that will work at maximum capacity and use less energy to boot. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on household appliances and consider HVAC equipment with alternative power sources.
5. Replace Your Electric Light Bulbs
LED light bulbs are so efficient that a single bulb saves up to $125 in household electricity costs. These savings may also reflect the fact that LED bulbs don't generate heat, so your HVAC system doesn't have to work harder to maintain indoor temperatures. When you upgrade from electric light bulbs to these brighter, greener alternatives, you'll also avoid the cost and hassle of replacing your bulbs regularly.
6. Unplug Your Electronics
Turn off and unplug all electronics that you aren't currently using. This includes the power adapters and chargers that connect to your laptop, smartphone and other devices; even after you unplug the electronics, their chargers continue to use small amounts of electricity if they're still plugged into a wall.
A Comfortable, Cost-Effective Home
A home with a well-maintained HVAC system and energy-efficient appliances can provide a respite from the cold of winter or the heat of summer without breaking the bank. To learn more about your home’s heating and cooling equipment, see the infographic below.