5 Ways to Cut Your Energy CostsPublished on: May 30, 2014
Energy costs are constantly rising, but that doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to constantly rising energy bills. A few simple home improvement projects can slash your energy use without sacrificing any comfort. The best part is that the savings from these projects will quickly offset their cost.
Consider an AC Replacement
If your air conditioner is older than 10 years old, ENERGY STAR recommends that you consider replacing it. Today’s new air conditioners have made huge energy efficiency gains over older models. Between government regulations setting higher efficiency standards and manufacturers competing to outdo each other, you can expect an energy savings of at least 20 percent. This number could go even higher if you choose a more efficient model or if your current air conditioner is already running at less than ideal efficiency. If your summer electricity bills are hundreds of dollars per month, the switch might pay for itself in just a few years.
Install an Efficient Water Heater
Water heaters can go ignored for years, but their annual operating cost can easily be several hundred dollars per year. Most of the time, that is not money well spent. The biggest problem with water heaters is that they constantly keep the tank heated no matter what time of day it is or how many people are home.
One of the quickest solutions is to use a water heater blanket. While your water heater will still always be heating, the blanket will help it hold its temperature longer. You can also cut your energy costs by installing a new, high-efficiency water heater. For the best results, a tankless water heater that only heats water when you need it may be the best choice.
Make Sure Your Home is Well Insulated
Trying to heat or cool your home if it is poorly insulated isn’t much better than trying to heat or cool it with the windows open. Insulation gaps allow uncomfortable outside air to come inside and let comfortable inside air escape. Even if there are no direct gaps, heat likes to spread itself evenly and will work to match your home’s temperature to the outside temperature the second your heating or cooling system turns off.
The best place to start when trying to reduce heat loss is in your attic. Builders routinely cut costs by not adequately insulating the attic, and it is very easy to add a layer of foam or blown-in filling to the attic even after a home is built. For a very poorly insulated home, you may also want to consider spray foam in your exterior walls.
See if You Need Duct Repairs
Leaky ducts are another big source of heat loss in a home. These leaks can arise from poor installation, careless workers, or normal wear and tear. Because most ducts are in non-living spaces such as your attic or walls, these leaks waste the air you just paid to heat or cool on non-living spaces and can increase your heating and cooling costs by up to a third.
A professional inspection is the fastest way to tighter ducts. While you can find and patch some leaks on your own, professional HVAC contractors have special equipment to measure the air flow through your ducts that allows them to find even the smallest leaks in the most hard-to-reach places.
Improve Your Thermostat Control
One of the best ways to cut your energy costs is to reduce your heating and cooling usage when you aren’t home to feel uncomfortable. A programmable thermostat can automatically raise the temperature when you leave for work each day and have your home nice and cool when you return. To take the savings a step farther, you can use a Wi-Fi thermostat to change your settings from your phone when you’re coming home late or if you forget to change them before leaving on a trip.
For help cutting your energy costs, just contact an AC Southeast® contractor. We have over 200 trusted contractors throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina standing by to help you lower your energy bills while improving your comfort.