Making your Siesta Key, Florida, home more efficient saves money and helps the environment. To save energy, you should add more insulation, install a programmable thermostat, update your appliances, seal your ductwork, and maintain your HVAC system. You can also increase the resale value of your home. Even if you have a relatively new heating and cooling system, you can save energy and money. Get a professional energy audit from Aqua Plumbing & Air to see where you can save the most energy.
Your home loses most of its heat through drafts and air leaks, so extra insulation will help you stay more comfortable. Check your insulation for leaks or mold once per season and after severe storms. You should replace moldy insulation because it can aggravate allergies and asthma. It’s also a sign of water damage. Additionally, some types of insulation actually lose their effectiveness and become compacted over time.
You can replace your old insulation with spray foam, recycled cellulose fiber, or gypsum since they don’t settle over time. Spray foam is resistant to water and pests, and it expands to fill leaks and gaps. Use caulk to seal smaller spaces around electrical outlets, light switches, and windows.
You should use weatherstripping underneath doors and windows to save even more energy and prevent chilly drafts. Caulk and weather stripping are both easy to install and inexpensive. Adding them only takes one or two hours. You should also replace aluminum window frames with wood, fiberglass, or vinyl for better insulation. The most efficient windows have more than one pane of glass, and the space between the panes is filled with an insulating gas like krypton or argon. Windows that don’t open usually have better insulation.
Installing a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can raise or lower your home’s temperature automatically. That way, you can always be comfortable, you’ll save energy, and you won’t have to spend time adjusting your thermostat manually. For even more comfort and savings, set your thermostat to raise the temperature of your home about half an hour before you wake up or get back from work.
Some programmable thermostats can set a different temperature schedule for every day of the week and vacations. You can set one schedule for weekdays and another for weekends with others. Some programmable thermostats also have a hygrometer to measure the humidity in your home. High humidity can lead to mold growth and air that feels warmer, while low humidity makes the air in your home feel cold, irritates sinuses, and causes dry skin.
Some programmable thermostats will also remind you to change your air filter; and you can even control some models from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. If you can’t get a new programmable thermostat just yet, turn your home’s temperature down by just one degree for savings.
Upgrading Your Appliances
Replace old appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, and refrigerators to save energy. If you replace your refrigerator, get rid of it responsibly instead of keeping it in your garage or basement. You can’t save energy if you keep it plugged in. You can also get a tax break by replacing your HVAC equipment. For the best value, use Energy Star-qualified appliances.
If you need to replace your water heater, choose a tankless or solar one for the best savings. Tankless water heaters only heat water on demand, so they don’t need constant heating like traditional models, and they use less energy. Getting new appliances is expensive, but you’ll get your money back through energy savings.
Sealing and Cleaning Your Ductwork
Warm or cold air often escapes through leaks in your ductwork, forcing your HVAC system to work harder and wasting energy. Leaks also lower your indoor air quality, keep your air filter from working well and let contaminants like dirt and dust into your ductwork. Have the ductwork in your attic or basement checked for holes, dents, spaces between joints, and gaps in insulation.
Most ductwork is inside crawlspaces or behind walls, so an average person can’t access it. However, a professional can find leaks with an infrared imager and other special equipment. Professionals can also fix them with duct sealant or mastic and wrap more insulation around your ducts where it’s missing or thin.
For even more savings, check your home’s exterior for leaks as well. You can also have your ducts cleaned to increase your indoor air quality and save energy. To see if they need cleaning, remove an air register and look in the ductwork. If your ducts are covered in dust, dirt, pollen, or other contaminants, you should have them cleaned by a professional. If you don’t notice lower utility bills or a more comfortable home after you seal and clean your ductwork, contact a professional to inspect, seal, and clean every part of your HVAC system.
Maintaining Your HVAC System
For better airflow, clean or change your furnace filters once per month. You should also have your heater inspected by a professional every winter to catch and fix problems before they cause an expensive breakdown. If your system is more than 10 years old, you can save money by replacing it with a newer model that will save you even more energy.
Keeping the same type of system is less expensive at first, but it could cost you more over time. Many ductless systems have more than one indoor unit, and they can keep every room in your home a different temperature so that everyone can stay comfortable. They’re also easier to install than ductwork inside walls or attics. They only need mounting and access to electricity.
Plant lots of trees on your property for shade in summer, energy savings, and a larger value for your home. In winter, trees lose their leaves, so sunlight can still get to your home and make you warmer. Attractive landscaping can increase the value of your home as well.
An awning or fence above and around your outdoor air conditioning unit will save energy and protect it from leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and other debris. It will also extend your HVAC system’s life and prevent inconvenient breakdowns. Make sure your system has two or three feet of empty space around it on all sides for the most efficient operation.
For more energy savings, a large hedge or a wooden fence can block cold winds. For the best privacy, plant two or three rows of dense shrubs. You can also plant hedges close to your home or grow vines for more insulation and a better-looking garden.
Wearing Warm Clothes
Keep your jacket or sweater on when you get home so you can feel comfortable at a lower temperature and save energy. You can also turn the temperature setting on your water heater down. This keeps children from getting burned as well as saves energy. It’s also safe and sanitary for most people.
Letting in Light
Open the curtains and other window treatments on your west- and south-facing windows during the day to let sunlight heat your home naturally. Make sure you close them at night for better insulation and more privacy. You can also attach a clear plastic sheet or plastic tape to the inside of your window frames for more insulation in summer and winter.
Unplugging Unused Electronics
You should unplug any electronics you’re not using, since all devices that are plugged in use a small amount of electricity. Even apartment dwellers can cut their energy bills by turning off and unplugging unused electronics and small appliances. Some of the biggest energy wasters are video game consoles, microwave ovens, and battery chargers. Connect appliances that use lots of power to the same power strip so you can turn them all off at the same time.
Aqua Plumbing & Air is a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer with 20 years of experience. We can help you with all your heating, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, and water treatment needs. We can install, maintain, and repair a variety of HVAC and other equipment. Call us anytime at (941) 306-3715for excellent service and more ways to save energy.
Image provided by Shutterstock