Using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Techniques to Lower Utility BillsPublished on: January 29, 2015
Even in areas of the country where an energy crisis isn’t evident, it’s important to do whatever’s necessary to decrease your home’s energy usage, which will also lower utility bills. There are two techniques to use: energy conservation and energy efficiency. Many people believe these terms are interchangeable, but we’re here to explain the difference and give you some tips for each that will help you gain control over your utility bills this winter.
When we talk about energy conservation, what we’re referring to is cutting down on the use of certain appliances or services. This type of action obviously reduces energy usage because you’re simply using less than before.
Here are some of the techniques that you can employ to take advantage of energy conservation:
- Turn down the thermostat – For each degree you can bear to turn down the temperature of the thermostat, you’ll save approximately 2 or 3 percent on heating costs.
- Bundle up – When the weather turns cold, most of us have a tendency to turn up the heat as soon as it begins to get a little chilly, especially at night. Instead, grab warm clothing such as a sweater or even a pair of long underwear. Covering up with blankets is also a great way to cut out the use of heating equipment.
- Use space heaters – Your home’s furnace is one of the most expensive parts of monthly energy usage. A great way to circumvent this use is to pick up a space heater or two. A quality space heater will keep you warm, which is especially useful when only one room is occupied. Plus, you’ll use considerably less energy.
- Lower the water heater temperature – Most water heaters are set to the default temperature of 140 degrees. Most households, however, don’t need water to be this hot and will never know the difference if it’s lowered a bit. We recommend lowering the temperature to its medium setting, which should be 120 degrees.
- Change to low flow – The use of water can add up quickly, which is why it’s important to conserve water whenever you can. A great way to achieve this is to switch toilets, faucets and shower heads to the low-flow variety. This will help you use less water without even thinking about it.
The other way to save energy and lower utility bills is to utilize methods that improve energy efficiency. The difference between this and conservation is that you don’t have to lose any services when making changes.
As we did above, we’ll provide you with some techniques you can follow to strengthen your energy efficiency:
- Replace the HVAC system – If your home’s system is more than 10 years old or has been experiencing operation problems, it’s likely much less efficient than it was in the past. Although replacement is a costly endeavor, newer models are more energy-efficient than ever before and will last a long time. When you’re shopping around, make sure you only choose a system adorned with the Energy Star label. Or, for the best efficiency, pick up one with the new Most Efficient label.
- Tune-up your existing system – If you’re not scheduling a tune-up of your HVAC equipment by a qualified professional each year, you’re doing your system and yourself a disservice. Doing so will increase its energy efficiency and extend its operational life.
- Switch out inefficient light bulbs – Incandescent bulbs have serviced us for more than a century, but it’s time we retire them. New types of bulbs, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use only a fraction of the energy as their prehistoric ancestors.
- Add insulation – If the proper type and size of insulation isn’t being used in your walls and attic, then the energy being expended to heat your home is leaking out, forcing the system to work harder than it needs to.
- Replace the furnace filter – Whether you use a standard air filter or an advanced one that prevents pollutants from entering your air, your system’s performance will diminish once the filter gets clogged up. Replacement is typically recommended every 1 to 3 months, depending on the frequency of use and the amount of pollutants and debris that it’s catching.
For more expert advice on techniques you can use for energy conservation and improving energy efficiency, or for any other home comfort concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact AirConditioningSouthEast.com. We can help you find a reputable contractor in your area.