10 Steps to Save BIG & Have an Energy-Efficient Home!
America’s Best Mechanical & Electrical is a huge supporter of conserving energy! We love to educate our customers, their friends and their families on the importance of energy conservation, and how it can benefit you! There are many simple things you can do around your home that will help you conserve energy and become more energy-efficient without the help of a contractor (however, when you do need a contractor, we sure hope you’ll call us!) Let’s check out 10 different ways you can become an energy-conserving family in an energy-efficient home:
1.) Change your furnace filters.
This is a quick and easy way to get your HVAC equipment in a more energy-efficient stage! Just once to twice a month, check your furnace filter and determine whether it needs to be replaced. A clogged, dirty air filter will definitely impact your HVAC system performance, and decrease the amount of allergens and debris entering your home’s air! Your furnace’s fan will work extra hard to maintain airflow when the filter is blocked, which will leave you with higher utility bills and shortens the lifespan of your HVAC system. Changing your filters as-needed is one step toward an energy-efficient lifestyle.
2.) Adjust your refrigerator’s cooling setting.
Typically, the average lifespan of a refrigerator is about 7 years before it starts becoming an energy guzzler. You’ve seen the commercials on TV – your refrigerator is an energy hog! If you keep the temperature setting cool enough to keep your perishables alive and thriving, you’ll save more energy. Most people think if the knob goes to “coolest”, you must use it. Wrong! Help your home become more energy-efficient by 1) adjusting the setting and 2) considering replacement if your refrigerator is more than 7 years-old. A refrigerator past its prime can be a devastating blow to your utility bills!
3.) Seal any visible air leaks.
During both heating and cooling seasons, check your home for any air leaks that could be letting hot air in during the summer, and cold air in during the winter! As stated in our previous blog on checking for air leaks – use an incense around your windows to check for potential cracks and crevices that could be causing air leaks. The smoke will visibly move and show you where you need to plug. Sealing these cracks and crevices will make your home air-tight and energy-efficient right away! Also, try keeping your curtains and blinds closed. This will help prevent excess sunshine from entering the home during cooling season, which will heighten the humidity in your home. Naturally, in heating season, you can use the sunshine to your advantage, if there is any strong enough to permeate the room! If you’re still having air leak problems, give us a call and we’ll investigate!
4.) Slay the energy vampires in your home.
“Vampire” appliances can become energy-sucking vampires in your home, even when they are turned in the “OFF” position, because they go into standby mode. These energy vampire appliances can use 5% of your home’s monthly energy! Over one year, that is equivalent to 26 average-sized power plants! Your top 5 culprits are cable boxes, items with clocks (microwaves for example), surround sound stereo systems, instant-on televisions (large flat-screens), and computers/computer-related equipment (towers, laptops, modems, routers, etc.) All of these items should be unplugged so that they’re not sucking your home’s power like a vampire on a daily basis! Think about it – Is it better to be energy-efficient and have lower utility bills, or better to wait 1-3 minutes less for power-up by having these items on standby? You decide!
5.) Flush/drain your water tank once a year.
Sometimes, grains of the sand used as a filter underground by the water companies can travel through the pipes of your home and cause build-up in the bottom of the tank. Once a year, it is a great idea to flush your water tank completely to clean it out and help it run more efficiently. To make your water tank more energy-efficient, turn off the heater. Take one last shower, one last load of dishes, and one last load of laundry. You can hook up a garden hose to the tank (you may need a screwdriver to open the valve), open the drain valve and use the water to water your lawn. After a few minutes, the entire tank will have emptied into your yard. Reset the temperature of the tank. 120 F is recommended. If your tank is 5 to 7 years old have the sacrificial anode replaced. The anode decays while saving the tank from corrosion. This could be a lot cheaper than replacing the entire tank in a few more years. This will aide in your home being energy-efficient every year!
6.) Get acquainted with some laundry logic.
Wash with cold water, and dry your clothes outside in the sunshine! It’s that simple. You don’t have to do every part of your laundry, but try hanging the heavier items: denim, rugs, towels, sweatshirts, etc. This will at the very least decrease your amount of timed drying. Worried about fading? Hang them indoors, in your laundry room. They may take longer to dry, but if they are not emergent, then take the energy-efficient route and hang your clothes!
7.) Control your home’s water flow and usage.
First and foremost, take shorter showers! We all love to wake up to a nice, long, hot shower. However, you could be using excessive amounts of water that is not necessary. When you are doing the dishes in a sink, try filling a small bucket within the sink with soapy, clean water. Use that as your soaking station, and rinse the debris after soaking and scrubbing, instead of leaving the water running the whole time you’re doing them. Water your lawn? Try using a sprinkler with a timer that will give you adequate water supply and will turn off at the correct time. When you’re brushing your teeth, turn the water off! All of these steps will help you reduce water usage and be more energy-efficient!
8.) Reduce your water heater’s settings.
Reset your water heater’s temperature to 120°F. This will reduce standby losses while any water in your tank is lying dormant, waiting to be used. This is a no-brainer for energy-efficient usage!
9.) Limit heating in the winter as much as possible.
If your home has energy-efficient practices already, such as appropriate insulation throughout and sealed air leaks, then using less electric or gas heat may benefit you in the winter. If you’re not using many rooms in your home, and don’t want to pay to heat them all, you could use a space heater for one area that is your common/most-used area. This is all about the comfort level you need for your home. Naturally, homes with elderly residents and those who are ill – always use your heat and seek assistance with heating costs if needed. You can always shop to make sure you are receiving the best prices for your usage! The old “bundle up” trick does work, but always keep your safety in mind before your energy-efficient ideas!
10.) Lastly, upgrade to CFL or LED lighting.
As we covered in an earlier blog, CFL light bulbs are the lowest cost energy-efficient bulbs available to the consumer today! LED lights are more of an investment, however, they pay themselves off within the first 3 months of savings. CFL bulbs can last up to 9 years, and LED lights can last up to 22 years! Typical incandescent bulbs only last about 2-3 years. You’d be saving 75-90% energy by upgrading to more energy-efficient lighting, as it takes up about ¼ of your electric bills!
Want to make strides in saving energy for your world? Contact us at America’s Best to discuss alternative strategies and have your home evaluated for its efficiency today! Visit us on Facebook for our current promotions, deals and discounts. Everyone loves coupons, so hop on over to our Specials page for additional savings! Remember, we have a Referral Program in place to help you earn $$$ for referring successful clients!