Reducing your household energy bills can seem like an overwhelming task. Learning how to save energy at home isn’t as difficult, however, if you take a systematic approach. The following room-by-room guide can help you get started.
Living and Family Rooms
Installing ceiling fans in living areas and using them in conjunction with the HVAC equipment allows you to raise or lower the thermostat by up to four degrees. If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed when it’s not in use and install a chimney balloon to keep cooled air from escaping up the flue.
Make sure the range exhaust fan is vented outdoors and use it when cooking to get rid of hot, moist air. Don’t pre-rinse when you’re loading the dishwasher, only wash full loads and avoid the appliance’s heated dry cycle. Vacuum the refrigerator’s coil regularly to keep it running efficiently.
Install low-flow shower heads and faucets to curb hot water consumption, and take short showers instead of filling the bath tub. When you shower, run the bathroom exhaust fan and leave it on for an extra 15 minutes to remove warm, moist air that increases the A/C’s cooling load. Repair water leaks promptly; a dripping hot water tap or shower head can waste over 1,000 gallons of water a year.
Switch to the cold water setting for laundry, and only wash full loads. Keep the clothes dryer vent lint-free, and make sure the ducting is attached securely and vented directly outdoors to expel heat and humidity. Whenever possible, hang dry laundry instead of using the dryer.
Keep bedroom doors open when operating the HVAC system to keep airflow balanced to prevent hot and cold spots and allow the equipment to operate efficiently.
Taking good care of the HVAC air handler and the hot water heater can help you save energy at home. Make sure yearly professional HVAC system maintenance includes servicing the blower unit and cleaning the A/C evaporator coil housed in the air handler.
Flush the water heater once every six months to clear out sediment, lower the thermostat setting to 120 degrees, insulate the hot and cold water pipes. If it’s an older model, install an insulated jacket on the tank.
Seal leaks between the attic and the living areas. Common trouble spots are around a chimney, recessed light fixtures, ductwork and the plumbing stack. Make sure the attic floor has between R-30 and R-60 of properly installed insulation. Insulate and weatherstrip the access hatch as well, and add a latch-type bolt to keep it securely sealed.
Air infiltrations through your home’s exterior envelope can add 10 percent to yearly energy bills. To save energy at home instead, weatherstrip exterior doors, caulk the windows and use expandable foam spray to fill in any spaces around vents, pipes, wiring and plumbing penetrations.
All Areas of the Home
In addition to making energy efficiency improvements in individual rooms, there are a number of steps you can take throughout the home to boost comfort and energy savings.
- Have a programmable thermostat installed to streamline energy use around your usual day routine and weekly schedule. Adjusting the temperature for a daily eight-hour period can save you 1 percent for each single-degree change.
- Have the HVAC system inspected, cleaned and tuned up annually by an experienced professional. Check the air filter monthly and change it whenever there’s visible dirt. Get the ductwork and register connections properly sealed and insulated to stop costly conditioned air losses.
- Shut off light switches when you leave a room. To make lighting as efficient as possible, replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs that consume less energy and don’t produce as much heat.
- If you plan to replace appliances, exhaust fans, HVAC equipment or windows, look for products with the Energy Star logo that can provide significant energy savings in comparison to standard models.
Check out Davis Air Conditioning & Heating’s other solutions to save energy at home, or call us today at 888-710-5530.