It’s fair to say that everyone would like to save money on energy bills. But what can you do to make that a reality? The team at A+ Insulation put together this list of doable things that will keep your energy bills lower this summer.
Sure, we’d all save money if we bought new, energy efficient air conditioners and furnaces, but that’s just not practical. We tried to stick to the things that would save you the most and the things that are fairly easy and affordable to incorporate into your busy life.
Heating and Cooling
Your heating and cooling costs make up half of your energy bills, so if you want to save money, that’s a good place to start. There are two big things you can do to decrease your energy bill.
Get a Programmable Thermostat (and use it properly)
Programmable thermostats can save you a lot of money if you’re using them properly. The Department of Energy says you can save the most by setting your thermostat back when no one is home during the day and/or at night when everyone is sleeping.
By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.
Save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. Set your thermostat to 78°F in the summer when you are at home and need cooling. Set it back to a higher temperature when you are away or asleep
Check Your Insulation
Homes can lose as much as 20% of their energy through a poorly insulated attic. Considering that the average U.S. family spends almost $2,000 a year on heating and cooling bills, that 20% is about $400 that could be in your bank account instead.
90% of homes in the U.S. are under-insulated, so chances are yours is too. It’s easy to inspect your attic on your own, and it could be the first step to saving big. If you can see the ceiling joists, your old insulation may have settled over time or too little was installed in the first place. Either way, you don’t have enough insulation. Attics should have at least 12 inches of insulation, but 15-20 inches is even better.
Another thing to make sure to check is that the access door to your attic is covered with insulation, as well as the rest of your attic floor. It’s an area many people forget about that costs them dearly. Learn what to look for when inspecting your attic: How to Evaluate Your Home’s Insulation
Don’t let that cold air you paid for escape! Windows and doors are the biggest culprits and adding weatherstripping and caulk can make a big difference. Checking your ductwork for leaks will also prevent air from escaping into unconditioned areas like unfinished basements, crawl spaces, and more.
Energy Star says that between improving insulation and sealing leaks, homeowners could potentially save 10 percent on their annual energy bill.
To evaluate your home’s energy efficiency, you can either perform your own home energy audit or hire a professional to do it for you. At A+ Insulation, we offer a free energy evaluation, because you can’t know the best way to save energy until you know where your home is leaking energy.
Change Your Lighting
In terms of your overall energy bill, lighting accounts for about 10%. If you’re looking to save some money over time, phase out those old incandescent light bulbs and switch to CFL or LED bulbs.
The Department of Energy says if you’re paying $6 each year to light a space in your home with one traditional bulb, you’d pay about $1.50 to light the same space with a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED). That’s $4.50 in savings each year per bulb. They may be more expensive to purchase, but because they last so much longer, over their lifetime, energy-saving bulbs are typically less expensive than traditional bulbs.
Lower the Temperature on Your Water Heater
According to DOE, water heaters account for nearly 17% of a home’s energy use, consuming more energy than all other household appliances combined.
Additionally, they tell us that the most efficient water heater temperature for most homes is 120° F because dishwashers now have built-in heating boosters to raise the temperature to the necessary 145° F for sterilizing dishes. If you have a tankless water heater, it should be set to 120° F as well.
Consider wrapping your water heater with an insulation blanket and setting your water heater to vacation mode when you’re away for an extended time for more savings. These changes are fairly easy to incorporate and they will save you money not only this summer, but the rest of the year and into the future.