Improving home energy efficiency is a goal that appeals to many homeowners. Reducing costly energy bills while keeping the house at a comfortable temperature is a must. Especially in the spring, when the freezing temperatures of winter may give way to a surprise heatwave, it’s essential to be able to keep your home both warm during cold temperatures and cool during hot ones.
Besides saving money and keeping your home comfortable, improving energy efficiency benefits the planet as well. Currently, the United States is home to just over 4% of the world’s population but accounts for about 17% of its energy use. Reducing the amount of energy your home consumes helps you do your part to protect the environment.
Follow these spring energy-saving tips to reduce utility costs and make your home more comfortable this year.
Having a programmable thermostat in your home can reduce your annual heating and cooling costs by 10%. In the spring, with its wildly variable highs and lows, having a programmable thermostat to keep your home at a set temperature is invaluable. Set the temperature slightly higher when you’re not home to prevent your air conditioner from cooling an empty space. Since your air conditioner also controls indoor humidity, adjusting the temperature can create a more comfortable indoor environment overall.
Along with installing a programmable thermostat, you should also avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your thermostat that could make it read warmer temperatures. Electronics and other appliances that let off heat can make the air conditioner work harder than it needs to keep your indoor living space cool.
In the spring, when the days are often still short, cloudy, and dark, energy-saving indoor lighting helps you conserve electricity and cut costs. Replacing the light bulbs in your home with energy-saving bulbs, such as LED lighting that operates at cooler temperatures and lasts longer than regular bulbs, could reduce your lighting’s energy expenditure by 75%.
Since lights give off heat when they’re on, turning them off when you’re not using them can also help you save energy. When the temperature is pleasant outside, you might want to open your windows to bring in natural light. Only open windows that aren’t in direct sunlight to prevent unnecessary heat from coming inside.
After the long, dark winter, natural light often feels like the best remedy. Letting natural light come in through your windows gives you a bright, lovely view and also helps you use less energy for lighting. But what if keeping your curtains or blinds open allows too much heat to escape through the glass? In that case, invest in window treatments that can act as insulation to keep the warm air outside, such as:
It helps to keep your window treatments drawn on a hot day to prevent solar heat from coming into your home. You can open your windows on cooler days to create a cross breeze that naturally lowers your home’s temperature without an air conditioner.
Using a power strip to plug in several pieces of electronic equipment helps reduce phantom loads — that is, the energy use that occurs when a device is turned off but still plugged into an outlet. This simple step can help you save a lot of money each year. Just remember to turn the power strip off when it is not in use. You can even find power strips that you can program to shut off at night when appliances and electronics aren’t in use!
Using Energy Star appliances, electronics, and fans can help you meet your spring energy-efficiency goals. These products must adhere to the EPA or the U.S. Department of Energy’s energy efficiency criteria. As a result, they use less energy than standard products and can reduce your energy bills. Switching to Energy-Star-certified appliances around your home can help you save substantial amounts. Look for the blue label when shopping for a new, energy-efficient product for your house to reduce energy expenditure this spring.
Your water heater consumes about 18% of your home’s total energy. Lower your water heater’s temperature by adjusting the dial on the heater to reduce the amount of energy your water heater uses. Setting your water heater at a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit saves money and provides comfortable water out of your faucets. You may even want to upgrade to a more energy-efficient water heater to prepare your house for the spring. You can also reduce energy usage by installing low-flow showerheads that limit water flow.
Make sure your ceiling fans turn in the correct direction for the season. A counterclockwise rotation will push cool air down to the floor level, whereas a clockwise rotation will push hot air down. When the weather is warmer, at the end of spring, reverse the direction to keep cool without turning on the air conditioning. As a result of this simple adjustment, you can raise your thermostat four degrees and ultimately lower your energy bills over time.
Besides ceiling fans, it also helps to turn on your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to suck heat and humidity out of your indoor living space. Make sure these fans vent to the outside, not just to the attic, to prevent humidity buildup on top of your house. You’ll also want to turn off fans when you leave the room to save energy.
As the spring weather starts to warm up, make sure you have an air conditioner that will help you conserve energy. You can tell the energy efficiency of an air conditioner by its energy efficiency ratio (EER). This number measures the unit’s cooling capacity in British thermal units (Btu) per hour divided by the power usage in watts. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) accounts for seasonal temperature changes by comparing the total heat removed to the power removed during the season.
Choosing an air conditioner with a high EER or SEER can help you save energy and lower your air conditioning bills. Besides upgrading to an energy-efficient HVAC system, it also helps to clean and inspect it while spring cleaning for energy savings. Replacing or cleaning air filters can reduce your air conditioner’s energy use by 5 to 15%. You should also inspect your evaporator coil and clean it at least once a year.
You can increase your home’s energy efficiency by weatherproofing your windows, exterior doors, and garage door with weatherstripping. Your garage, especially, is one of the main points where heat or cold air escapes from your home, so add weatherstripping to help keep your home cozy and comfortable even in extreme temperatures.
Use caulk to seal the gaps in your doors and windows and prevent warm air leaks from coming into your home. This low-cost solution can make a big difference. Sealing and insulating your HVAC system’s ducts can help you save 20 to 30% of your energy expenditure.
Most people focus on their main living spaces when they’re trying to lower their energy bills, but your attic plays a significant role too. Trapped heat in your attic can seep down and warm the central part of your house, so consider adding ventilation to allow that trapped heat to escape. And insulation is always useful to keep your attic from warming up when the spring sunlight grows strong. You can also cook outside to prevent heat buildup inside the home.
As the spring weather gets warmer and you start thinking about picnics and potlucks, you may be opening your refrigerator door more frequently. Keep in mind that a refrigerator makes up a significant amount of your home’s energy bill. Spring is an excellent time to make sure your refrigerator is in peak shape so it can keep your food cold with minimal energy expenditures.
As you do your spring cleaning, don’t forget about your refrigerator’s condenser coils — the metal coils located either on the back or the bottom of your refrigerator. If these coils get dirty, your refrigerator has to work harder to keep your food cool, so it requires extra energy. While you’re at it, make sure the rubber seals on your refrigerator door are firm and tight to keep the cold air inside.
Hiring an energy professional is one of the best energy efficiency tips for spring. A professional energy company can perform a helpful home audit to let you know where and how your current energy solutions cost you money. And just like spring cleaning, a spring tune-up for your heating and cooling systems is an excellent idea.
Regular maintenance and an annual change of air filters go a long way toward keeping your heating and cooling systems functioning at their peak. A professional energy company may also customize the energy solutions that are right for your household and help you conserve even more.
Though all the tips above are useful methods for reducing your energy consumption and costs, one of the best energy-saving tips for spring and beyond is getting a home system tune-up and switching to Shipley Energy. A home system tune-up goes over your heating and cooling systems to check for inefficiencies and problems. By keeping your systems in top working order, you save energy and prevent costly failures.
Shipley Energy provides home systems tune-ups when you switch to our heating and air conditioning services. Our promise is efficient, reliable heating and cooling that can lower your utility bills and keep your home cozy both in the spring and all year long.
When you’re looking for ways to save energy this spring, let Shipley Energy help. We can deliver energy solutions for your home that keep you warm in the cold and cool in the heat, and our knowledgeable teams are here to answer questions and provide the dependable service you need.