With energy prices rising and another Midwest winter looming, managing your home’s energy use is critical to curb waste and save money.
Did you know that your home’s HVAC system accounts for nearly half of your total energy use each year? The average single-family home in Indiana spends $400 monthly on utilities. With energy prices on the rise, that number is sure to climb.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can lower your energy use, eliminate waste, and reduce utility costs.
Eliminate Sources Of Heat Loss
Investigating for leaks and drafts and sealing them properly can greatly impact the comfort of your home this winter. Consider checking major heat loss sources like external doors, windows, your attic or basement, and unexpected leaks like light fixtures or outlets.
You can stop leaks with relatively inexpensive materials from the local hardware store. For example, replacing worn weatherstripping around doors, covering leaky windows with window film, or caulking around door and window frames will immediately affect energy loss.
Check Your Water Heater
Water heating comes in a close second on the list of household energy use accounting for up 18% of your utility bills. Most manufacturers recommend keeping your water heater set at 120 degrees to prevent scalding and to save on energy. Lowering the temperature on your water heater could save you up to $400 per year according to the US Department of Energy.
Note that if your water heater is older than 10 years, it might be time to begin planning for an upgrade to allow for maximum efficiency and avoid costly emergency repairs or unplanned replacement.
Lower The Temperature
The key to saving energy on heating or cooling your home is to keep the temperature difference as small as possible between the indoors and outdoors. So, keeping your home a bit cooler in the winter and warm in the summer can prevent your system from running as often.
Try setting your thermostat back to 68 this winter and lowering further while you’re away from home. Setting your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for 8 hours per day can save you up to 10% annually on your utility bills.
Using a smart thermostat can make planning precise temperature controls and setbacks a bit easier. You can learn more about what our Pros say about them here.
Maintain Your Equipment
You likely don’t spend a lot of time thinking about your home’s HVAC equipment unless you have an issue. Prevent breakdowns, emergency repairs, or replacements, and keep it running at its best by performing annual maintenance on your equipment.
A poorly maintained furnace has to run extra hard to keep up with winter weather. An annual furnace tune-up each fall can keep your furnace running efficiently while protecting your family from harmful indoor air pollutants and even carbon monoxide poisoning.
Consider our annual maintenance plans which make protecting your HVAC equipment hassle-free.
Make An Upgrade
Home upgrades can seem like a costly endeavor, but thanks to some new federal incentives, you can still take that vacation you’ve been planning and make your home more energy efficient.
In August of 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law offering homeowners up to $14,000 in tax credits and rebates for making energy-saving upgrades to their homes. Covered under this act were items like energy-efficient appliances, heat pumps, central air conditioners, water heaters, and even new windows.
Learn more about federal clean energy programs, specific upgrades, and how to qualify here. And be sure to check our frequently updated Offers page for additional local incentives, financing, and rebates.
Other Ways To Save
There are other simple ways to make the most out of your furnace’s output this winter.
1- Close Off Unused Spaces: During the winter months, seal off unused spaces by closing the vents and keeping the doors closed. This will keep heat circulating more efficiently in the most used spaces.
2- Work With Mother Nature: Opening your curtains or blinds creates a greenhouse effect that allows the sun to heat your home-and the family cat will thank you for it. Conversely, closing your curtains at night can help curb heat loss by up to 10% by preventing cooler drafts from entering the home.
3- Use Your Fans: Did you know that you can reverse your ceiling fans to turn clockwise versus counterclockwise? Reversing the direction of your ceiling fans can help circulate warm air that collects near your ceiling.
4- Snag A Space Heater: Space heaters come in handy for small spaces and short-term occasions. Is your home office cooler than the rest of the house? Use a space heater rather than adjusting the thermostat.
5- Fire Up The Fireplace: A fire is a great way to supplement your furnace in the cooler months, but when it’s not in use it can allow for cool air to sneak in. When you’re not using your fireplace, be sure to keep the damper closed.
The Final Word
Keeping your home warm doesn’t have to bust your budget this year. With a few simple steps like sealing up leaks, caring for your equipment, and making minor adjustments around the house will make a big difference in your monthly bills.
However, if simple doesn’t do the trick, call on the Pros at Legacy to help walk you through any repairs or the upgrade process. Schedule an appointment online or give our office a call to learn about your options, make a plan, and take action.