Having indoor air comfort and good indoor air quality is important to South Plains homeowners. This means cooling your home during the summer and heating your home during cooler winter months. Unfortunately, achieving indoor air comfort can result in high energy costs. You can maintain your home’s indoor air comfort while maximizing energy savings through energy efficiency and energy conservation.
Many people use the terms “energy efficiency” and “energy conservation” interchangeably. However, the terms refer to two different methods of saving energy costs:
· Energy efficiency – Energy efficiency improves the way your home uses energy. The goal is to maintain the same level of indoor comfort while using less energy. To do this, a homeowner can upgrade to appliances that use energy more effectively, like those with an Energy Star certification.
· Energy conservation – Energy conservation means taking steps to use less energy. In this case, the goal is to cut back on the amount of energy that’s used. Conservation methods may require a bit more work on the residents behalf, but ultimately result in energy savings.
There are a number of steps homeowners can take to combine energy efficiency and energy conservation in order to save on energy costs:
- Be sure to turn off lights whenever you leave the room, even if you expect to return shortly.
- Unplug appliances that aren’t in use, including the washer and dryer. Even if the appliance isn’t actively being operated, they still use power.
- Unplug electronics and chargers when they’re not in use. A simple way to accomplish this is to plug all electronics into a single power strip. This way, you can turn off power to all items simultaneously.
- When replacing or upgrading appliances, look for the Energy Star logo. This logo means the appliance has been certified as using less energy to operate.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which can last longer and use substantially less energy.
Heating and Cooling Savings
- Install a programmable thermostat. When programmed, the thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature when no one’s home in order to use less energy. The system will return the home to comfortable levels just prior to your scheduled arrival.
- In winter months, set the thermostat to 68 degrees. Most people will be comfortable at this level by simply wearing an extra layer of clothing.
- In summer months, set the thermostat to 78 degrees. When it’s hot outside, this temperature is perfect for feeling cool indoors.
- Change the air filter in the HVAC system regularly. Dirty air filters can restrict airflow, which makes the HVAC system work harder and use more energy to heat and cool the home.
- Use drapes to block heat from the sun in summer months and to prevent heat loss in winter months.
- Schedule annual maintenance for the HVAC equipment. This will ensure the system works efficiently and can diagnose issues before they become big. Additionally, annual maintenance will ensure fuel burning appliances are properly vented, therefore, improving indoor air quality.
- Reduce the temperature on the water heater to 120 degrees. This temperature is comfortable for cleaning and bathing while reducing the chance of scalding.
Air leaks are the biggest cause of energy loss in a home. Address them by visually inspecting the home’s interior and exterior. Common areas for air leaks include doors, windows, outlet covers, places where plumbing exits insulated walls and areas where two types of building materials meet. Gaps should be filled with caulk or weatherstripping. Sealing air leaks stops heat loss, improves indoor air quality and allows the HVAC system to work more efficiently.
For additional information on how energy conservation and improving your home’s energy efficiency can reduce your utility costs, contact the experts at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning today. We’ve served the HVAC needs of the South Plains of Texas for more than 50 years.