Not every homeowner is committed to going green, but most of them are interested in saving some. Fortunately, making your home more energy-efficient helps the environment and your bottom line. If your energy bills are killing you, your thermostat is likely shouldering a lot of the blame.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for 48% of the average homeowner’s energy bill. If you’re looking to whittle your energy bill, there are several things you can do to save energy — and money — while heating and cooling your home.
Adjust the thermostat
Sometimes, saving money is a matter of a few degrees — literally. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save money heating and cooling your home just by adjusting your thermostat for eight hours each day. A change of just 7 to 10 degrees, either while you work or while you sleep, can save as much as 10% on your heating and cooling expenses.
For optimal savings, get comfortable living in lower temperatures during the winter and higher temperatures during the summer. For optimal energy savings, set your thermostat at 68 degrees during the day in the winter, and at 78 degrees during the day in the summer (and only when you’re at home and need cooling). That means letting your cozy sweaters and blankets play a part in the energy-savings game.
Choose a better builder
Saving money is always top of mind for potential homeowners as well — and the builder you choose can make a big impact on how efficiently your home operates in the long run. When you’re considering a builder, ask about features that can lower your energy bills going forward.
Top-of-the-line insulation, for example, will help your home either retain the hot or cold air as you run your HVAC system. Additionally, pay attention to the windows your builder uses. In a cold climate, you’ll want to opt for those with a UV factor between 0.17 to 0.39, according to Building Green.
Ivory Homes builds their new homes to be the best for families and the environment. They include smart home features, windows with a .28 UV factor, excellent insulation and more. If you’re building a home, talk to potential builders about the furnaces they typically use; you’ll want one as efficient as possible. Ivory Homes makes sure to give you the option of installing a 96% efficient furnace to save you money in the long run.
Get ‘smart’er HVAC
Most people know the annoyance of leaving for work — or worse, leaving town —without turning your heat or air conditioning off (or at least down). Installing a smart thermostat is a great way to make sure you’re always running your home efficiently, even when you’re gone.
Not only do smart thermostats allow you to control your HVAC settings from your mobile device, there are even models that incorporate sophisticated algorithms to learn your schedule and adjust temperatures based on whether you’re at home or away. With built-in motion sensors, these thermostats also know when you leave or come home unexpectedly, which means you’ll always be comfortable at home — without paying for warm or cool air you don’t need.
Give your AC some TLC
You probably know your car runs better when you’re on top of its scheduled maintenance. Similarly, your HVAC systems require some ongoing care to run at optimum efficiency. According to HVAC.com, the typical 1-inch disposable air filter in an air conditioning system should be replaced every one to three months. Higher-efficiency filters need changing every 6 to 12 months.
Of course, your specific system, along with your household use may impact the schedule. Dirty filters not only lead to dirty and clogged ducts (which are less efficient), they also reduce the air quality in your home.
Additionally, the National Air Duct Cleaners advises regular cleaning of your HVAC system, as “contaminants in the heating and cooling systems cause them to work harder and shorten the life of your system.” And when your HVAC systems are working harder, you can be sure you’re the one paying for it.
Get to know HERS
Would-be homebuyers should keep in mind that building codes approved in 2016 now offer homebuyers energy ratings for new homes. The HERS index, which rates a home’s efficiency, is an important number — and the lower it is, the better.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average resale home in the United States has a HERS rating of 130, with a new home averaging 100. A home with a lower score means better efficiency and — you guessed it — less money spent heating and cooling it.
Ivory Homes, Utah’s top homebuilder, has a HERS rating of 60 — one of the best in Utah. That means a home built by Ivory Homes is 40% more energy efficient than the average newly constructed home.
If you’re interested in saving energy and money while heating and cooling your home, visit Ivory Homes. They can help you or learn more about smart, energy-efficient home construction.