December 12, 2012

Home Energy Saving Tips to Reduce Your Family’s Impact on the Environment

Annual heating and air conditioning maintenance

Many people wait until something is wrong before they feel that they can justify the cost of service and repairs. Problem is, by neglecting to have your furnace and air conditioner serviced regularly, you will pay more in the long run; more in energy bills, more in preventative repairs, and face replacements sooner from reduced equipment life. And, you will most likely experience equipment failure in the middle of the summer or winter, times of heavy use when you need your systems the most. Regular maintenance will catch small issues before they become large issues and prevent total system failure. Also, when your equipment is serviced annually and running at an optimal level you will have much lower utility bills. This is good for the environment and your pocketbook.

Upgrade old, inefficient appliances

Dishwashers, clothes washers, ovens, refrigerators, water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, and other major appliances can all run up energy costs quickly if they are not energy efficient or not running at peak performance. It is important to have your major appliances inspected regularly. If you are considering a renovation or upgrade, explore your options.

Fix refrigerant leaks

Refrigerant is expensive. The longer you put off fixing the leak, the more that’s evaporating (not to mention the harm to the environment). Not only that, if moisture enters and reacts with the refrigerant, vital components like the compressor can be damaged and you may end up replacing your entire unit. Even if a total replacement is not required, the efficiency of your unit can be greatly compromised.

Seal air infiltration into the home

If your home is not sealed to today’s standards you could be spending 30% or more on your energy bill than necessary. Infiltration refers to airflow through gaps or cracks around windows, or in walls or flooring. Using caulk or other means to fill in the holes you can access will help to seal the building envelop so that less energy will be needed to maintain the temperature in your home. Having a home energy audit conducted will also give you more information about the most cost effective changes you can make to reduce costs. Seal ducts located outside of the building. If you have ducts that run through your garage, attic, basement, or crawlspaces they may be susceptible to extreme temperature deviations from the portion of the home where the temperature is regulated. Sealing and insulating these ducts will result in a reduction of energy consumption.

Ceiling fans

A ceiling fan can increase evaporation of perspiration from an individual and create the sensation of a cooler environment. Ceiling fans also cost much less to operate than your comfort system. This allows you to set the thermostat higher and still enjoy a comfortable environment. Be sure to turn the fan off when you leave the room.

Motion detector light switches

Are you tired of kids leaving the lights on and wasting money? Install motion activated light switches to automatically turn off lights and conserve energy. They are especially useful in rooms that have ceiling fans, as ceiling fans are only effective if there is someone present in the room to benefit from the air movement.


Most people don’t pay a lot of attention to what kind of light bulbs they have in their home, as long they provide adequate lighting. What many don’t realize is that they are wasting money using conventional incandescent light bulbs. The light bulb with the spiral top is called a CLF or Compact Fluorescent Light bulb. The average life of a CFL is approximately 6-10 times that of an incandescent light bulb. Although CFLs are more expensive than compact fluorescent bulbs, they use less energy, providing a yearly savings of $40-60 or more.

Outlet insulators

It may be hard to believe, but if your outlet covers are not properly insulated, air could be entering your home around them. Use outlet insulators to help seal the space behind the outlet and lower your energy bills.

Low flow showerheads

Consumers worry that switching to a low flow showerhead will decrease their comfort in the shower. In reality, most people using a low flow shower head can’t tell the difference between it and a regular showerhead.

Don’t do everything at once. Pick a few projects to tackle each year. By making just a few of these changes, you could be saving a great deal of money on utility payments. We can help you prioritize! Applewood is always ready to help with all of your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical projects.

Be sure to use these home energy saving tips to reduce your family carbon footprint.

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