The most important renovation you can perform on your home doesn’t involve removing a wall to add a spare bedroom. Remodel your thinking with these energy efficient tips to save hundreds each year.
Most people are consciously trying to save on energy costs. We have great intentions, but they don’t always translate into a proactive plan.
Here are some practical energy efficient tips that go beyond saving money will change how you think about energy use in your home.
Preventative Maintenance Is Key To Lower Future Costs
The equipment that is used to heat and cool your home can only provide maximum efficiency when it is maintained, and everyone knows that regular heater maintenance is much more cost-effective than repairing it every year.
Your home itself also needs some tending on a regular basis. Think about it. As winter approaches, you will start looking in the closet and evaluating jackets to make sure that they are serviceable and will keep you warm for another season.
You wouldn’t send your children out in the Massachusetts weather in a threadbare hoodie. Treat your home the same way. Use the warmer months to check things like the insulation around windows and doors. Make sure that your heating unit is serviced and ready to handle that first cold snap.
You’ve got a busy life, we get it. The cost of servicing a heater system in Boston is often recouped in the time you save by letting Bigelow manage the little details in keeping your home efficient.
A great way to manage preventative maintenance is Bigelow’s Total Comfort Plan. With benefits like free replacement and repair for basic parts, this service plan takes the hassle out of preventative maintenance.
Automate Your Home Whenever Possible
We live in a mobile society. Here is a big secret to saving money on energy costs: practice efficiency in your life as well as in your use of energy. There are many ways to automate energy saving practices.
A great example of this is a WiFi thermostat, where you can have your HVAC system automated.
Do you prefer the interior temperature of your home to be a little bit cooler at night when you sleep? That’s great…until you wake up to a cold Massachusetts morning and stamp around the kitchen in your heavy robe, a blanket, and thermal shirt while you wait for the coffee to brew and the furnace to do its job.
A WiFi thermostat actually learns your schedule and cools or heats your home accordingly. Couple a smartphone app with a WiFi thermostat and you’ve got energy saving power in the palm of your hand. Even works from your WiFi flight.
With an app you can make real-time adjustments to your heating and cooling so your home is nice and cozy when you get home from work, and you can even connect it to the lighting and other energy-dependent items in your home.
Create an Energy Saving Routine
Okay, routines are boring and tedious…
Maybe, but your teeth sure benefit from one. An energy saving routine is just as valuable as flossing after you brush, and, like taking care of your health, it only takes a few minutes a day to implement.
Get in the habit of looking at the insulation around doors and windows. When you’re tidying up the bedrooms, check those vents to make sure they are clear and functioning properly. When your heating bill goes down, you’ll feel almost as good as you do when the dentist praises your oral health.
Use Your Home’s Natural Resources
This is a big one that many people overlook. Window treatments aren’t something you necessarily associate with saving energy, but day lighting can make a difference.
Closing the blinds in the summer to help shield against the heat and opening them in the winter to let the sun in are examples of how little things can contribute to big savings.
You must make your home an ally in the battle to reduce energy costs. Make it work for you instead of against you. This also applies to how well you maintain your heating and cooling units.
Think of your appliances as soldiers on the front line. No general is happy sending ill-prepared soldiers into battle. Things like taking the time to tune up your heater with maintenance will go a long way toward preventing costly repairs.
Never Underestimate the Importance of Filters
How often do you defrag the hard drive on your computer, do a disk cleanup, or clean the computer’s fan with compressed air? Once a month? Now ask yourself why you do these things.
The real reason you do them is probably the fear of a crash and having to buy a new system.
Well, the filters on your heating and cooling units do the exact same job. They trap nasty particles that can impair performance and impact a unit’s livelihood as well as future costs.
When you think about the time and expense of changing your filters compared to the cost of a new unit, you’ll start taking the time for maintenance. If you think three or four days without Facebook is bad, try a week in the cruel New England winters without heat.
Rethink Solar For Your Home
Gone are the days when solar energy was simply too expensive to incorporate into the home.
You can even receive a tax credit if you install an Energy Star-approved solar device. Up to 30% of the cost of the device can be claimed, and since it’s a credit, the amount is applied directly to your tax payment.
When you think about solar, sometimes it helps to think small. Many people only think about solar energy in terms of powering the entire home, and that can be overwhelming to consider.
The fact is that individual appliances like a solar water heaters are more affordable than you might think and provide a good introduction to solar energy and how it is used.
Consider Replacing Older Units
If you have an older heating or cooling unit, it may be time to consider replacing it with a more efficient model. There are practical considerations here. If you are settled and plan to own your current home for the long haul, it pays to think about the cost of a new unit versus how much you will save.
The important thing is to put considerations of energy efficiency above other modifications. The extra bedroom you want to build isn’t going to put more money in your pocket. However, you sure can apply the money you save on energy costs to adding that bedroom at a later time.
Prioritize your home maintenance obligations and desired modifications. Remember what we said about making your home an ally? You wouldn’t spring for a new paint job on that classic Impala if the engine is shot. Let practicality trump aesthetics and use the money you save to make the other improvements you desire.
Use a Combination of Natural and Electric Lighting
This is an area where you can get very creative. Do you really need that night light in the bathroom, or will a nice pillar candle do the trick? You might even consider a candlelit dinner every now. Perhaps you could enjoy that book on the patio in the afternoon sun, instead of inside under a lamp.
Sometimes, we get into a way of thinking that turning off a light or two now and then really doesn’t make a difference. Well it does! Try it for a month and you might be surprised how much electric lighting you are using that serves no practical purpose.
Educate Yourself About Energy Use
Energy is something we take for granted.
We really don’t want to know how a power grid works. We just want to flip a switch and have everything turn on. That’s okay, but it pays to inform yourself about how energy efficiency impacts you as well as future generations.
Try to separate thoughts of energy efficiency from the hoopla around climate change, carbon footprints, and such. Being responsible and trying to conserve isn’t political, it’s just good common sense.
Think of yourself as a steward, a caretaker of the resources you use. Are you being a good steward? No one is asking you to become the next Ralph Nader. Just be informed.
We’ll Be Your Trusted Partner For Energy Efficiency
It helps to have a trusted partner when it comes to making your home more energy efficient and reliable oil company in Boston. We will work with you to create a sustainable, long-term plans that will help you change your thinking about energy use.
Give us a call at 617.964.1600 or contact us online to schedule an appointment so we can make sure you aren’t alone, eating leftovers in a cold home.