As Winter draws to a close, most of us are still recovering from the shock our energy bills costed over the past couple of months. If you’re one of the many who are wondering how on earth they will financially recover, we have a few tips to help with the next season coming up.
Change your air filter. A dirty filter in your home’s furnace or return duct can add anywhere from 5%-15% more cost on your energy bill. When your filter is dirty, air cannot freely flow back to the HVAC unit. This causes the unit to work harder which uses more energy. Replace your filter every month or so depending on how much dust, fur, and debris gets produced inside your home.
Reset your thermostat. Setting your thermostat to a less comfortable level while you are away or sleeping can save your unit from working when it really doesn’t need to. Changing out your thermostat to a programmable one can save you the hassle of having to physically adjust your thermostat every time you leave your house or go to bed. Our favorite is the Ecobee 5 Smart Wi-Fi thermostat. Once you set your schedule, included sensors will read for body heat to see if it needs to switch to “Away” mode. The Ecobee 5 can save you up to 26% on annual energy costs. The pretty lights that come on while talking to the built-in Alexa is a total fringe benefit, but the best part is you don’t need a degree in Rocket Science to operate it.
Make sure your ducts are in a row. Sorry for the pun, but you get it. You need to confirm your ductwork is properly sealed and insulated. Leaky ducts can add hundreds of dollars to your energy bill each year. Also, having a professional perform your ductwork cleaning will free your vents from any blocking debris that could be keeping air from flowing freely to and from the HVAC unit.
Schedule Your HVAC Maintenance. Over time dirt, grass, leaves, and other debris build up in your HVAC unit. This keeps your unit from being able to dispense its heat and air freely. Not having the coils and fins properly cleaned every year will cause your unit to work harder, leading to higher energy costs and premature break downs. We suggest having your unit professionally cleaned and inspected about every 6 months to keep it running as efficiently as possible. Signing up for a yearly maintenance contract that provides 2 visits can get you more bang for your buck versus just buying 2 separate cleanings.
Upgrade to a more efficient HVAC unit. Units are rated by SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). The higher the SEER number, the more energy efficient it is. Going up to a 16 SEER from a 14 SEER can save about 13% on your energy bill. Naturally, the SEER you choose will likely depend on your budget. However, available financing options can make owning a new, energy efficient air conditioning unit more affordable than you think.
There are other smaller ways to cut down energy costs on your home. You can make sure to turn off your exhaust fans 20 minutes after your shower or cooking, close window coverings in the Summer to block the sun, open window coverings in the Winter to welcome the sun, and keep foliage at least 2 feet away from your outside condensing HVAC unit.
At the end of the day, applying any and all of these tips is sure to help you become an energy saving beast.