Five Signs Your Home May Be As Overworked As You Are
Did you know July 5 is National Workaholics Day? For those among you who rise early, work through lunch and leave the office well after sunset — we salute you!
Although you may be rewarded for your hard work, we all know the saying “work smarter, not harder.” Did you know the same can apply to your home? Especially in peaking heating and cooling seasons, your home may be working harder than it should be, causing it to consume more energy than necessary and you to pay more in energy costs. An overworked home can also mean reduced lifespan of your home appliances and equipment, while will also bring unplanned maintenance and replacement costs. If there’s one thing your extra hours at the office should NOT be used for – it’s paying for wasted energy!
Help your home curb its overworked habits with more energy efficient practices. Here are five signs your home is working too hard:
1. Too many drafts – Most homes have air leaks that need to be sealed to make your home more comfortable and ensure the money you’re spending on heating and cooling isn’t escaping. A simple way to detect some leakage is by lighting an incense stick and passing it around edges of common leak sites. Wherever the smoke is sucked out of or blown into the room, there’s a draft. Good places to begin are doors and windows and then baseboards and junctures of the walks and ceilings, where leaks occur most often. Once you’ve detected drafts, seal the openings with caulk and/or weather-strips to save up to 30% on energy bills.
2. Gadgets galore – Each day we grow increasing connected to our phones, laptops and computers and when we’re not focused on our compact screens, we’re focused on the big screen – television. Even when electronics are turned off, they draw energy while in stand-by mode – “vampire” power – which adds up to more than $100 a year. Curb your energy use and annual energy bills by plugging your electronic devices into power strips to easily switch off with one click of a button.
3. Excessively hot water – Most manufacturers set water heater temperatures to 140°F degrees. Lowering the maximum temp to 120°F degrees should be sufficient enough for your home and will save you up to 11% on water heating costs. Take an additional step and add an insulation jacket to reduce stand-by heat loss by 45% and water heating costs by up to 9%.
4. Old school thermostat – Does your thermostat still have a dial indicating the current temperature? It’s time for an upgrade. Install a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts temperatures when you’re asleep and away from home. You can save up to $180 a year – it will pay for itself!
5. Too cold. Too hot. Never “just” right – During heating and cooling seasons, HVAC units are hard at work. It’s important to check furnace filters often as dust particles (and pet hair) clog filters, forcing them to work harder and use more energy. Replacing your air filters regularly can reduce your HVAC’s energy use by up to 15%. If you need a reminder to check your furnace, try an air filter whistle – by simply attaching the whistle to your filter and it will automatically “sing” when it’s clogged, reminding you to make the swap.
Now that you’ve given your home a break, it’s time for a break of your own! Before hitting the road for summer vacation though, make sure to check our tips for saving energy and money while you’re away at http://www.virginiaenergysense.org/at-home/vacationtips/.