Charlottesville homeowners are concerned about energy savings. To help out, we’ve put together a handy roundup of things you can do to conserve energy at home. With the items on this list, you’ll also save money in your household all year round. Take a walk through the rooms of your home with this list in hand and try as many of the tips as you can. As a reward, you’ll be helping the environment, and your next energy bill should reflect significant savings.
Adjust Settings for Energy Savings
- Set the thermostat back. Anytime you won’t notice if the house is a bit on the warm side in summer (or the cool side in winter), conserve energy and let your heating or cooling system take time off. Key times to painlessly cut energy use include night time and whenever you leave your home for several hours.
- Use a programmable thermostat. It will automatically adjust the thermostat based on your preset preferences and make sure your home is comfortable when you arrive home or wake up in the morning.
- Turn down the water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees. You’ll save energy and avoid scalding your hands under the hot water taps in your home.
- Look for and start using energy-saver settings on your computer, refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer.
Make a Big Difference With Small Purchases
- Install low-flow faucet aerators and shower heads to save water–and save on water heating.
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) throughout the house, which typically use only one-quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs.
Change Your Habits
- Remember to turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Kill those energy vampires by unplugging phone chargers, printers and other electronics that continue using energy even they’re when set to “off.” Make unplugging easier by using a power strip to switch off several energy guzzlers at once.
Add Insulation to Help Save Energy at Home
- Inspect home insulation or bring in a professional to do so.
- Add insulation to the attic to get the most savings.
- Once properly inspected and sealed, ducts should be insulated, especially in non-conditioned areas of the house.
- Make sure you have enough insulation in external walls and add more anywhere it’s missing, settled or moist. Blown-in insulation (cellulose or fiberglass) can make filling tight spots easier.
- Insulate hot water pipes.
- Add a water heater blanket, especially if your older tank water heater has fiberglass insulation rather than foam. To check, look in the pilot light access for a gas water heater or the thermostat for an electric model. (Cut the power before you check this.)
Seal the Envelope
- Seal drafts and air leaks in your house. Check around doors and windows, as well as penetrations in your walls for plumbing pipes or electrical wiring and outlets. Also check around the chimney and recessed lighting in the ceiling, behind cupboards and in closets. Use caulk or weatherstripping as needed.
- Upgrade leaky windows to Energy Star-certified windows for maximum long-term savings.
- Duct sealing can rid your home of one of the worst culprits for energy waste: leaky ducts. Up to 30 percent of your home’s conditioned air can be lost through duct leaks that may be hidden behind walls or in crawl spaces.
Maintain or Replace Equipment for Home Energy Savings
- Clean or replace the air filters in the furnace, air conditioner or heat pump on a monthly basis.
- Don’t forget professional preventive maintenance. Have your heating and air conditioning systems inspected and tuned up to make sure you’re ready for the season ahead. Fall and spring are the ideal times to get this done.
- Replace your oldest, most inefficient appliances to save energy at home. They’ll start paying for themselves right away in reduced energy costs.
Get Professional Guidance
- To locate the most significant areas of energy loss in your home, schedule an energy audit. This should include a blower door test to locate air leaks and areas of energy waste in your home. This can help you prioritize your energy-efficiency fixes and upgrades.
- Ask your HVAC contractor to assess the health of your heating and cooling systems. Find out if a retrofit or system replacement will benefit your long-term budget and increase your home comfort.
For additional expert HVAC advice on how to save energy at home while maintaining comfort, contact W.E. Brown, Inc. in Charlottesville. We offer complete heating and cooling system design, installation, repairs and maintenance.