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Are you looking for a way to make your home more energy efficient this year? As we go through the dog days of summer, here are a few simple tips to maximize your energy usage and cut down on your utility bills:
- Maintain your heating and cooling system. The best way to keep your equipment running at peak performance is to have a licensed HVAC professional provide annual tune-ups. Utilize Wyckoff’s annual check-up service – a licensed professional will inspect your heating and cooling units twice per year to catch issues before they arise. It’s also important to clean or change air filters once a month.
- Utilize insulation. Effective insulation can go a long way in saving you money this summer. The key is to make sure your walls and attic are well insulated; this slows the rate that heat flows into your home in the summer (or out of your home in the winter). If your home has no wall insulation, blown-in insulation can significantly improve your home comfort and save enough energy to be a cost-effective investment. If your attic is unfinished, it often pays to upgrade its insulation.
- Fix leaks. Fixing leaks around your home will help you get the full performance out of insulation. While each home is different and has its own set of leakage points, there are a few areas where infiltration repeatedly shows up – around fireplaces, laundry chutes and attic doors. You can save a significant amount of energy by sealing as many of these entry points as possible.
- Seal and secure. Securing the exterior perimeter with caulk or spray foam in openings at the top of the foundation wall can help keep the cool air in and the warm air out this summer. Similarly, interior gaps are often found between baseboards and hard floors, such as tile, hardwood or laminate flooring. These areas can be filled with latex caulk, thus preventing air from entering the home at foot level.
- Replace old equipment with a high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® system. When purchasing heating or cooling equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR label. These products use advanced technology to help you save on energy bills and improve the comfort in your home. If your furnace was has a standing pilot, it probably wastes 35 percent of the fuel it uses, and it is probably near the end of its service life. Ask a Wyckoff Heating & Cooling professional if it’s time to replace your heating and cooling units.
- Make sure equipment is the right size for your home. Remember, when it comes to heating and cooling systems, bigger isn’t always better. If the heating or cooling unit is too large for your home, it will frequently cycle on and off, which wastes energy and increases your electric bills. Plus, it won’t run long enough to remove humidity from the air, which can impact the comfort and health of your home.
- Install a programmable thermostat – An ENERGY STAR® qualified thermostat, when properly used, can save you about $100 every year in energy costs. To maximize savings, it’s important to keep the thermostat at energy-saving temperatures for long periods of time, whether it’s during the day when you’re at work or through the night.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs. By replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), you can save three-quarters of the electricity. Although new CFLs cost more initially, it only uses 27 watts to generate as much light as a 100 watt incandescent bulb – in turn, costing less over the course of its lifetime.
- Upgrade or replace windows. If your windows are old and leaky, it may be time to replace them with energy-efficient models or boost their efficiency with weatherstripping and storm windows. According to EnergyStar.gov, replacing windows will save 7 to 24 percent of your heating and air-conditioning bill.
- Plant shade trees and shrubs around your house. If your home is older, with relatively poor insulation and windows, good landscaping (particularly deciduous trees) can save energy, especially if planted on the house’s west side. In summer, the foliage blocks infrared radiation that would warm the house, while in winter the bare branches let this radiation come through.
For more helpful tips or information on how to make your home more energy efficient, contact us or call (800) 246-0273.