energy-efficient upgrades
November 18, 2015

Your Guide to Saving Money with Energy-Efficient Upgrades

energy cost

As a homeowner in Virginia, you know our area can experience great weather variation. As a result, efficient heating and cooling can be quite a challenge, especially in older homes. However, by upgrading your home with Energy Star windows, doors, and appliances, you can reduce waste and start saving.

Tax Credits

The federal government offers tax credits on the purchase and installation of Energy Star products. This is done to encourage the purchase of more efficient products as they reduce waste and energy consumption, and are therefore more beneficial to the environment. Energy Star improvements will help homeowners to save money and increase comfort as they reduce any negative effect on the environment from their activities. There is also a Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit that gives homeowners up to a 30 percent tax break for certain qualified improvements.

You can make many upgrades in and around your home that are eligible for tax credits. A lot of these upgrades require an initial investment that might naturally make you hesitant, but they result in a lot of savings in the long run as they help you to be more energy efficient. Be sure to check for any expiration dates on tax credits.

Ductless Heating and Cooling

Ductless heating and cooling systems bearing the Energy Star label, are designed to drastically cut energy costs. By using only the minimum amount of energy required to heat or cool a room, they remove the cost associated with cycling. Cycling refers to the on/off modes that an air conditioning systems goes through to achieve ideal room temperatures. The frequent cycling can waste a considerable amount of energy.

Harnessing Your Solar Power

If your home is in an area that receives a lot of direct sunlight, solar power is a great option for saving on energy use. Solar energy is also great for powering water heaters. We rely on water heaters for various reasons throughout the year. We still take hot showers even when it is blazing hot outside. You can invest in a solar water heating system to significantly reduce the amount of energy used to heat your water supply. A solar water heating system that is Energy Star-qualified can save you as much as 50% annually on water heating costs.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

One of the best ways to reduce energy consumption is by installing a geothermal heating and cooling system. These systems are said to be more than 45% more energy efficient than standard options. The initial costs of purchasing and installation will be eventually offset by the savings. For geothermal systems, pipes are buried underground where the temperature is generally 50 to 60 degrees. Because the underground temperature remains essentially steady year-round, it takes far less energy to heat or cool that air than the outside air, which fluctuates greatly. The underground pipes, called an earth loop, contain water or a special fluid. The liquid circulating through the pipes captures the underground heat that is used in producing the right temperatures for indoor heating and cooling.

Energy Star Central Air Conditioners

Energy Star approved central air conditioners are more efficient and, therefore, reduce energy costs. Your HVAC technician can ensure that you find the right energy-efficient system for your home. You should also take advantage of maintenance plans, that help to ensure your system remains efficient and helps to prevent problems from developing.

Washers and Dryers

Washers and dryers use a lot of energy because they have set cycles. However, Energy Star washers and dryers use the latest technology to cut any inefficiencies. Energy-efficient dryers use a low heat setting, which requires less power, as well as sensor drying, which turns the dryer off as soon as the clothes are dry. Energy Star washers usually have larger basins, allowing you to put more clothes in at one time and thus cutting the number of loads you do during a typical week or month.

By following some of these Energy Star guidelines, you can significantly cut your energy costs. Not only will you see extra money in your pocket throughout the year, but the government rewards you with extra tax credits when you invest in these systems. Although the initial cost is a bit higher than traditional options, tax credits and eventual energy savings help to offset the extra cost.

If you plan to upgrade your heating or cooling system call W.E. Brown, Inc. at (434) 295-1177. Our qualified technicians are trained in the effective servicing, maintenance, and installation of all kinds of HVAC equipment, and energy-saving systems. Give us a call today for more information, so you can start saving.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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