How To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient This Winter
Now is a great time to make improvements that will boost your home’s energy efficiency. Low-cost improvements offer a quick return on investment. By targeting major sources of energy use and waste first, you can maximize your savings with less effort and minimal out-of-pocket costs.
Major Energy Users in Your Home
Although HVAC systems are more efficient than ever, heating still represents 35 percent of household energy use in northern Virginia. Water heaters, appliances, lights and electronics are other energy hogs. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to control their rampant demands. According to the Department of Energy, these steps can save you $75 to $100 annually.
- Switch to LED light bulbs.
- Replace holiday string lights with LED products.
- Install smart power strips that eliminate phantom energy use.
- Lower your hot water temperature to 120 degrees.
- Use your refrigerator’s energy-saving mode.
Other Energy-Saving Tips
Scheduling a fall tuneup is an easy way to improve the reliability and efficiency of your heating system. A Commonwealth Cooling & Heating technician can advise you on maintenance practices for heat pumps, furnaces, and boilers.
In the winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees when you’re at home. Lower the temperature by 7 degrees when you’re away or asleep. For heat pumps, reduce the temperature by 1 or 2 degrees to limit the use of the backup components.
Reducing Air Leaks
Air leaks undermine your home’s energy efficiency. Here are a few low-cost weatherization tasks that will prevent air from escaping your home or sneaking indoors.
- Use weatherstripping on doors and windows.
- Seal all vents, plumbing lines and wires with caulk or expanding foam.
- Insulate light switches and electrical receptacles with foam gaskets.
- Place plastic covers over exhaust fan grills and exterior vents.
- Open your curtains or blinds during the day to take advantage of the solar energy.
Learn more about lowering your power bills by checking our maintenance page or by calling Commonwealth Cooling & Heating at 703-436-8028. We can help you achieve your energy efficiency goals.
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