Energy efficiency is important to all homeowners, whether they know it by this name or not. An energy-efficient home enjoys lower utility bills and higher comfort levels. You can minimize your impact on the environment while padding your wallet with extra money by making some smart changes to your Texas lifestyle. Be wary of these mistakes that can cost you big in the efficiency department. It’s easy to fall into a routine, but these habits will cost you money if you don’t change them this summer.
Leaving Power Strips On
Plugging your appliances into power strips is an excellent way to save energy, but if you’re not actively turning your power strips on and off, you’re doing only half the job. To reap the energy savings of using a power strip, you must turn off the entire strip any time you’re not using the associated appliances. Get into the habit of turning off power strips before you leave a room, and make regular rounds of the house before you go to bed in the evening to make sure every power strip is turned off.
Cooking on the Stove
If you’re trying to save money, eating at home is a good step. Unfortunately, cooking on your stove or in your oven isn’t a great way to save energy. This appliance naturally generates a lot of heat and your air conditioner will have to work to keep up.
Instead, try some alternative methods for cooking your meals. If you have a grill, this is a great option. The heat stays outside where it belongs while your home stays cool. If you don’t have a grill, cooking with a microwave or toaster oven will generate less heat than using an oven or stovetop. The most energy-efficiency option of all is simply to cool down from a hot summer day with a cold meal like a salad.
Using Winter Thermostat Settings
If you have a programmable thermostat, it’s easy to set it once and let it maintain optimum comfort levels for you throughout the year. The most efficient way to use your thermostat, however, is to adjust the settings seasonally. The temperatures you aim for in winter are dramatically different from what you want your thermostat set at in the summer.
In the summer months, keep your home warmer at night or while you’re away from home. Save the cool air for times when the house is full and you’re active. This is the opposite of what you should do in winter, keeping the home cooler when you’re inactive or away to conserve energy.
Leaving AC Filters Alone
If you haven’t visited your AC filter in the last month, your HVAC efficiency is taking a hit. You should change or clean the filter once a month during the summer. This regular maintenance task is quick and easy. If you’re not familiar with where the filter is or how to change it, have your HVAC professional give you a quick tutorial during your next visit. Stock up on extra filters so you always have a clean one on hand when it’s time for your monthly change.
Skipping Annual Maintenance Visits
Your HVAC system needs twice-yearly maintenance to stay in top condition. You should have your AC system serviced in the spring before you turn it on for the first time, and have your heating system serviced in the fall before temperatures dip low enough to switch over.
If you haven’t had your system serviced within the last six months, schedule your next visit now. Staying on top of your regular maintenance visits will improve operating efficiency and extend the life of your system and parts. Your regular maintenance visit also includes a thorough cleaning of the system so you’ll enjoy better air quality as an added bonus.