With energy prices so high and inflation rates draining cash from our pockets every day, most people want to save money at home wherever they can.
The good news is that there are actually many easy yet important energy conservation methods that can add up to impressive savings over time. Here is a closer look at some of the steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency right now—and for years to come.
Check your air filter on your heating and cooling system on a regular basis. A dirty air filter cuts airflow, causing your air conditioner or furnace to overwork (and you to overpay for energy). Check your HVAC air filter a few times during the cooling and heating seasons, replacing or cleaning it when needed. Check manufacturer’s guidelines for filter maintenance.
Look to your windows. Lock the hot air out and hold the cool air in this summer by sealing windows. You’ll save money in the long run with this step, which you can accomplish with caulk for nonmoving parts and weatherstripping for moveable joints.
During the cold months, keep curtains and shades open in sun-exposed rooms to absorb all that free heat and solar energy during the day, then close them at night to keep it in at night. Do the reverse in the summer by closing curtains and shades during the day to block solar heat. Smart window treatments can help manage solar energy throughout the year.
If you’re looking for an all-weather, year-round solution, start using a smart programmable thermostat. Whether you’re away or just sleeping through the night, one of these devices will help you conserve energy and save on your bills. In fact, a smart programmable thermostat can cut up to 10% from your annual energy usage!
In the spring and summer, the U.S. Energy Department recommends setting your central air conditioning system to 78°F when you’re at home. Program your A/C system to shut off 20-30 minutes before you leave home each day; return the temperature setting to normal comfort levels 20 to 30 minutes before you come home.
In the winter, the optimal setting is 68°F when you’re at home. Dial it down toward the 60°F range when you’re asleep or out of the house. The temperatures you ultimately choose will depend on factors like the outdoor temperature and your family’s comfort preferences. Remember, these are just guidelines.
Clear away any unnecessary items in front of your baseboards or vents. Whether there are pieces of furniture in the way, a too-thick rug, or assorted kids’ shoes and toys on the floor, you’ll want this area to be clear in order to make the most of your home’s energy usage. Finally, for safety’s sake, keep the area around your heating system as clean and clutter-free as possible. Never store anything flammable near your system.
Install ceiling fans. Ceiling fans work for your home throughout the year. The circulating air helps keep you and your home cool in the summer. In the winter, reversing the direction of the blades will push down warm air that’s trapped near the ceiling. That helps you use less heating oil while still keeping your home warm.
To learn about how you can positively impact your home’s energy efficiency through upgrades to systems like heating oil boilers and heating oil furnaces, please go here.