The amount you spend on energy every month can take a huge bite out of your budget. Consider that for an average single-family home in the United States annual energy costs add up to around $2,000. So reducing these costs can have a positive impact on your budget. Here are our top four recommendations for homeowners looking to reduce those pesky energy costs.

 

Change That Air Filter

We recommend replacing your home’s air filter at least once every three months. Despite the cost of air filters, often $10 or $20, there are two significant reasons for switching them out on a schedule. First, a clean air filter reduces energy consumption, by 15% compared to a dirty one. Those savings add up. Second, a dirty air filter makes your HVAC system work harder. So, not only are you paying more in energy costs to keep it running, but that stress is wearing out your system more quickly than necessary. And nobody likes replacing a furnace or air conditioner unit unnecessarily.

 

Install a Programmable Thermostat

When used with a mindset focused on cost reduction, a programmable thermostat can help you save about 10% on your energy costs every year. To achieve these savings, you need to reduce your energy usage when you’re away at work or when you’re sleeping. When programming your thermostat, you should target about a ten degree adjustment. Too large of a swing in the temperature can actually cause your system to use more energy (as it works harder to catch up).

 

Seal Those Doors and Windows

If your home’s not properly sealed, you stand to save 10% or more on heating and cooling costs by sealing it.

  • Doors: Caulk any cracks around your door frames, plus add a door sweep to any external doors.
  • Windows: Add weather stripping to operable windows. For stationary components, apply caulk to any cracks or gaps.
  • Plumbing and Electrical Components: Apply an expanding foam sealant wherever pipes or electrical work enter an exterior wall from the outside.

 

Install Energy-Efficient Lighting

The old incandescent bulb we all grew up with is gradually being replaced by more energy-efficient solutions. In fact, the United States government has put limits on the manufacture of new bulbs, based on the efficiency of their energy use (which rules out many incandescent bulbs. Switching out energy-inefficient bulbs will save you on your electric bill, especially if you focus the swap on your most frequently used light fixtures. So what kind of bulbs should you switch to? We recommend either CFL or LED bulbs.

  • Energy Star-qualified CFL bulbs use about 25% of the energy of a traditional incandescent bulb and last ten times as long. • Energy Star-qualified LED bulbs use about 20% to 25% of the energy of an incandescent and last 25 times longer.

 

While it can take a little time and money to make these energy-saving improvements, the savings down the road can be well worth it.