We’re always looking for ways to trim our budgets and energy consumption is a big area to work on. There are so many things you can do to cut your energy bill that it might surprise you. You may not be able to do all of these things but even implementing a few could make a radical difference in your monthly bill.
Give Your HVAC a Check Up
Your heating and air conditioning system can be one of the biggest drains on your budget. Leaking or misaligned ductwork can reduce efficiency by up to 20%. Using a certified technician to check them out and clean ductwork can cost $100 or more but will more than make up for the cost in savings over time.
Energy Star Appliances
You’ve seen the Energy Star label on appliances in stores but may not have understood what it represents. According to the website, “ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.” Specifications for these products are created by the EPA and the products must meet or surpass them to earn the label. Purchasing Energy Star appliances can cut your energy costs over time and still give you the features you want.
Clean Your Filters
Change your furnace, central air conditioner and wall unit air conditioner filters monthly during the seasons they are in use. Vacuuming dust and dirt from the units and changing filters regularly can help them run more efficiently and save you money.
Adjust Your Thermostat
If you are not home during the day, there is no need to keep the house air conditioned to your lowest comfort level. Set your thermostat for a higher temperature during the day. If it is programmable, you can set it cool down again before you get home. You’ll never know the difference and it could save you as much as $180 per year.
There are some federal tax credits available to you in 2011 for both existing homes and new construction, depending on the item involved. Some are 10% credits, some are for 30%. Some have limits while others do not. For a complete list of available federal tax credits, check this list. Some states also offer credits. Before you shop, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.