How Can I Make My Home More Energy-Efficient?
There's nothing more frustrating than paying a hearty energy bill every month — especially if you do not know precisely what the root cause behind that astronomical grand total is. And while there's a chance you might be using your electricity a little more than usual these days (since you're probably working at home), there is a chance that the increase in the amount owed stems from your HVAC.
If you're looking to decrease your monthly bill while making your home more energy-efficient, here are some pros tips to take into consideration:
Leaving the Heat on When the House is Empty
Sure, we'd like to always return to a nice, warm living space during the colder months out of the year — but leaving the heat on when no one is home can do more harm than good. Doing this will make your unit run all day, which can lead to that steep increase in your monthly bills. To help combat this, there are two options:
Keep Your Thermostat at a Lower Temperature
One of the best ways to help keep your home warm, while reducing the chance of a high utility bill, is to keep the heat on a lower setting during the day — predominantly when your home isn't occupied.
For instance, consider setting the thermostat to 65° F before you head out the door, followed by increasing the temperature to 68° F (or a temperature of your choice) the minute you step through the door.
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Another way to keep your energy usage at bay is to consider investing in a smart thermostat. These new wave devices are the perfect addition to your HVAC system since you'll be able to adjust the temperature from just about anywhere in the world — as long as you have a smartphone and a steady internet connection in hand!
An additional perk about a smart thermostat is that the device can send alerts to your smartphone and notify you when your unit may require maintenance (i.e., a simple filter change) or if a repair must be made (i.e., there's an essential piece of equipment that's loose).
Schedule Annual HVAC Maintenance
One of the most important appointments you can make (besides scheduling an annual physical with your physician) is a yearly maintenance appointment for your HVAC unit. Typically, your home's comfort system should be tuned-up twice a year — once in the fall, the second time in the spring. Although the temperature is pretty consistent in Southern California, never skipping these appointments is vital.
For starters, a tune-up appointment will help you become more familiar with your HVAC system and have peace of mind knowing that the unit's inner workings are up to par. Another perk about annual HVAC maintenance is that a technician will catch any minor problems (before they have the chance to escalate into something much larger) and will ensure that your unit is working as efficiently as possible — which can help cut back on energy costs, as well as extend the lifespan of your unit.
Don’t Forget to Replace Your Air Filter
Sure, it's easier said than done, but you'd be surprised at how many homeowners keep the same air filter in place for months — and, potentially, even years. Although this small piece to the HVAC puzzle seems to serve little significance in helping your unit perform up to par, that couldn't be further from the truth.
The air filter does precisely what its name implies — it helps trap airborne particles before they have the chance to enter your air ducts and be distributed throughout your home. However, if your air filter has been in-tact for longer than three months, it could be hurting your unit more than helping it (i.e., making your system work much harder to produce the results you’re looking for).
To help combat this, consider replacing your filter about every 90 days to lessen the chance of any performance issues occurring down the road.