Your energy consumption differs from room to room in your home due to various factors, including type of equipment or appliances used, location of the rooms, and the types of activities that take place in them. Rising energy costs make it very important that homeowners actively seek ways to conserve energy and reduce bills. There are often simple but very effective techniques that you can implement to save energy throughout your home.
Your living room is likely where you and your family spend a lot of time. Take a quick glance around the room and you are likely to identify several ways in which you could be saving energy. Some are changes you and your family can make, others you might need to notify your HVAC technician. Start with the air registers or vents. Are the connections where they meet the floors, walls and ceilings well sealed? If not, you may be losing conditioned air. You HVAC technician will also need to check if any part of the ductwork is disconnected or has leaks. Check that there are no obstructions like furniture or rugs in front of or over vents. If you have a fireplace, close dampers when it is not in use.
Are your appliances Energy Star certified? You will save money on appliances or products with an Energy Star label. Energy Star is a program of the U.S. government that determines and rates the efficiency of appliances, recognizing those that might be harmful to the environment, and helping consumers to select those that offer better performance.
Ensure that all electrical connections are well-sealed and insulated. Unplug battery chargers when not in use and plug electronics into a power strip, turning it off when the electronics are not being used. Many appliances will continue to use energy when turned off. Unplugging or using a power strip is therefore very important.
Replace all light fixtures and lamps with Energy Star-rated models, and use energy-efficient bulbs such as LEDs and CFLs which use less energy. Install dimmer switches and turn off lights when you leave rooms for extended periods.
During the hot periods, close drapes or blinds to prevent heat gain. Use ceiling fans to stir up a breeze during those hot days. Reverse the switch to push down heated air from the ceiling in the winter, and open blinds and drapes so sunlight can help to warm your home during the day.
More people than ever are working from home. They are saving money on gas and car maintenance but using more energy during the day. Many of the opportunities for saving energy at home during the day will be in your office, and they are the same as those you should observe throughout your home. Be sure to turn off and unplug any equipment not in use. Computers and laptops often emit a lot of heat. It would be a good idea to install a ceiling fan in your home office.
Look for the Energy Star label when selecting your computer, printer, scanner, copier and lighting. Plug everything into a power strip and turn it off when you do not need the power.
Several of your primary energy-consuming appliances will probably be located in the basement, including the washer and dryer, water heater and the indoor component of the HVAC unit. Choose efficient appliances that are Energy Star certified as well. Wash full loads and whenever possible, use cold water. Likewise, dry full loads, and if the dryer has a sensor, use it to determine when drying is complete so the appliance will turn off. It is also better to do laundry during the morning or evenings when it is cooler, to reduce the amount of heat gain in your home.
Basements tend to suck energy away from heated places, so make sure the rim joists — where the concrete walls of the basement meet the wood frame of the house at the edge of the basement ceiling are well sealed.
Invest in a good quality air filter for your HVAC system and change it regularly, particularly during periods of high use. It will not only improve your indoor air quality, but will also keep the HVAC system cleaner so parts last longer and the system works more efficiently. Also be sure to schedule regular maintenance on your heating and cooling system.
Learn more about saving energy at home, and about HVAC system solutions from the experts at Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning. Give us a call at (703)763-0399 to speak with an experienced technician, or to schedule an appointment.