We’re all looking for ways to save energy, especially in the summer months when energy costs in Arizona are at their highest. There are quite a few small things we can do at home that will add up to significant savings on our utility bills.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, cooling and heating together make up 35-40% of our energy use, so wisely using and maintaining our HVAC systems can provide us with considerable cost savings.
Here are ten things you can do to save energy at home:
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, you’re missing out on some real savings on your energy bills.
Programmable thermostats allow for precise temperature control throughout the day. They also have less temperature variance than manual units, so they read the temperature in your home more accurately.
You can set the temperature higher when you’re not home, and since temperatures are preset, you’ll never have to remember to change the setting on your thermostat before you leave.
Your air conditioner won’t run longer than it has to with a programmable thermostat, meaning you’ll save money on cooling bills.
For increased energy savings, you can use the Department of Energy’s recommended summer thermostat settings:
78 degrees when home during the day
85 degrees when away from home
82 degrees when sleeping
Our air conditioning units work hard for us for much of the year, and they need regular maintenance to keep them in top shape. Poorly maintained HVAC systems have to work harder to cool and heat our homes, increasing our energy use.
Chas Roberts has a 26-Point Maintenance Plan to keep your air conditioning and heating systems working efficiently. The cooling season checklist includes:
There’s no substitute for regular maintenance if you want to keep your HVAC system running smoothly, prolong the life of your equipment, and save energy.
You should replace air filters as often as monthly in the summer. Your HVAC system has to work harder if the filters are dirty, increasing your energy costs.
Check your air filters regularly, and if they look dirty, replace them.
Monitor how often you replace the filters by noting the replacement date on each filter when you change it.
Water heating is the second-largest energy expense in your home and accounts for about 13% of your energy use, so it pays to take advantage of ways to reduce your water heating costs.
Minerals and sediments will accumulate around the heating element in your water heater over time, causing it to work harder to heat water. You need to have your unit drained regularly to avoid sediment buildup for energy savings and to extend your water heater’s life.
A well-maintained water heater doesn’t have to work as hard to produce the hot water your household requires. And that saves you money.
Water heaters don’t last indefinitely, and even a well-maintained unit will eventually need replacement.
If you have a water heater that’s ten years old or older, you may already be seeing signs that it’s headed towards failure. If your water temperature fluctuates or your unit makes strange noises, it’s probably close to failing.
An older, inefficient water heater costs more to operate than newer models. You won’t save money by continuously repairing an old, unreliable unit.
Purchasing a new, energy-efficient water heater that will save you money on energy costs for years to come is the most cost-effective choice.
A water heater setting of 120 degrees is considered safe and should provide enough hot water for your household use.
If your water heater setting is higher than 120 degrees, you’re spending more than you need to on energy costs.
You can also lessen your water heating bills by using less hot water. Washing clothes in warm rather than hot water will get the same results and cost you less.
Newer water heaters are well-insulated, but if you have an older unit that feels warm to the touch, consider insulating it for increased energy savings.
It may not seem like you’re wasting much water with a dripping faucet in your home, but the water wasted from leaks costs you money.
The energy.gov website states that one drip of water per second from a leaky faucet wastes 1,661 gallons of water and can cost you up to $35 per year.
Call a plumbing pro if you’re not sure you can repair the leak by yourself.
Air leaks around windows or doors let cool air escape in the hot summer months when our air conditioning units are working their hardest. The less well-sealed your home is, the harder your HVAC system has to work.
Check around windows and doors for any damaged caulking or weather stripping and replace it.
You’ll see savings on energy and reduce wear and tear on your air conditioner, as it won’t have to work as hard.
We don’t often think about the ductwork in our homes because it’s hidden, but it’s an essential part of our cooling and heating systems.
Air escapes if ductwork isn’t properly sealed, and our homes lose energy efficiency.
According to the Department of Energy, you can do minor repairs to ductwork with duct mastic, but major repairs should be left to a professional.
Close the blinds or curtains to prevent direct sunlight from streaming into your home in the summer months. Direct sunlight will heat your home, and your air conditioning unit will have to work harder to keep it cool.
Installing sunscreens on your home’s south and west-facing windows will also help keep it cooler and save energy.
There are many steps we can take to save energy at home. Since our HVAC systems and water heaters use the most energy in our homes, one of the most cost-effective things we can do is have them professionally serviced regularly.
Chas Roberts is the largest HVAC provider in Arizona and has been family-owned and operated for over 75 years. Contact us for honest, reliable service at affordable prices.