Heading into a new year is the perfect time to reset and take a look at how you can shrink your utility bills. The best way to do this is by making your home more energy- and water-efficient. Below, we’ve provided four New Year’s resolutions to help you get started on the road to improving your home’s efficiency.
1. Resolve to look at your energy bills for the past 3 to 5 years.
Yes, we know it’s scary, but it’s time to have a good, honest look at how much energy you’ve been using. Pay special attention to your bills during the past few summers and winters, the seasons during which you rely the most on your HVAC system.
Has your energy use been increasing year over year? If so, this is a strong indication that your HVAC system is getting ready to retire. As heaters and air conditioners age, they become less efficient—meaning they require more energy to perform. This can make them more expensive to use.
If you’re like most households, your HVAC system is responsible for more than half of your energy usage! If your system is old and inefficient, it could be well worth the money to start shopping for a replacement. If you replace just an air conditioner that’s only 10 years old with a new, more efficient unit, you could save up to 40% of your cooling costs. A new heating system on top of that can give you tremendous savings.
2. Resolve to look at your water bills carefully each month.
Why watch your water bills closely? Because a high water bill can be the first sign of a broken water line or a hidden leak in your home.
If your bill seems unusually high, or if you can’t figure out what made your water usage increase, there’s a good chance that you’re losing water to a leak. The cause could be something common like a worn-out toilet flapper, but if the leak is inside your walls or below your foundation, it could create extensive water damage. Either way, it’s best to give your plumber a call.
3. Resolve to get visible leaks fixed right away.
Did you know that one faucet dripping once per second can waste over 3,000 gallons in a year? According to the EPA, that’s enough water for more than 180 showers. Even if a leak seems like it isn’t a big deal, it could be impacting your water bills more than you think.
4. Resolve to use your thermostat wisely.
If you own a smart (or learning) thermostat, you’re already ahead of the curve because you can use the app it comes with to get energy-saving recommendations. However, if you own a standard thermostat, you might not know the ideal settings to help you save money.
The Department of Energy recommends the following settings for your thermostat to lower your energy bills:
- During heating seasons: Set your thermostat to 68°F while you’re at home, and lower it when you are away or asleep.
- During cooling seasons: Set your thermostat to 78°F while you’re at home, and raise it when you’re away.
If you find that your thermostat causes your system to run too frequently (thus, raising your energy bills), it might not be placed in a good location. Cold drafts, sunlight, or heat-releasing appliances could be affecting its readings. For help relocating your thermostat, it’s always best to contact an HVAC professional.
At Wilbur’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we take pride in being your trusted plumbing and HVAC experts throughout Birmingham, Trussville, and beyond. To schedule a service, give us a call at 205-655-2396 or contact us online today!