According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Atlanta homeowners paid 37.3% more for utility gas in January, but paid 11.7% lower prices for electricity as compared to the U.S. average. These differences are primarily due to seasonal changes, such as excessive heat in the summer and colder winters that cause those in this area to spend more in comparison.
With energy costs high and volatile, most homeonwners are looking for inexpensive ways to lower their utility bills. The good news is that there are many inexpensive ways to make your home energy efficient on a budget.
In this Atlanta HVAC Guide article, we discuss what you can do yourself to further cut expenses. Most of these items can be completed by the handy DIY’er, but based on your time and skills, you may want to hire a local HVAC contractor for some of them.
- Add weatherstripping to doors and windows. You get a good return on this minor investment! Poorly-fitting doors and windows are responsible for wasted energy in every season. Eliminating those leaks will lower your energy bills all year.
- Seal your duct work. Making sure that exposed duct work in attics, basements and garages is sealed well with definitely conserve energy and lower your bills. Choose metal duct tape or mastic sealant for the job. Both are better choices than the cheap duct tape sold at home improvement stores. Look for gaps in seams and where duct work is joined together, and patch any small holes you see. You’ll reduce energy loss by up to 20% with this simple, affordable step.
- Add insulation to your attic. This will help you save energy in all seasons. In winter, it will prevent heat escaping into the attic. In summer, it will prevent the hot attic air from pushing down into your home, making your AC work harder to cool it, using more energy to do so.
- Add an attic vent fan. Getting that hot air out of the attic is another affordable way to make your home more energy efficient. Electric and solar models are available. In the winter, it can be used to remove excess moisture from the attic that can cause mold or rot. If you live in an arid climate, simply turn it off in the winter.
- Program your HVAC system to run less when the house is empty. Use a programmable thermostat to shut down the system, or have it run less, when no one is home. Program the system to turn back on 30 minutes before you arrive home and the house will be comfortable when you get there.
- Add an insulation jacket to your hot water heater. If you have a standard water heater that uses a tank, energy is wasted through standby heat loss. This means that water is heated, cools off, and is heated again before it is used. Adding an insulation jacket will reduce this heat loss.
- Turn the water heater down 5-10 degrees. Most homeowners have their water heater set higher than it is safe to be or needs to be. Consult the owners manual or turn it down to 90F to 95F.
In addition to the items outlined above, we recommend that you have your HVAC system tuned up and inspected by an Atlanta HVAC contractor at least twice a year.
Saving energy in your home doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can be very effective if you take these 7 steps. In addition, taking care of a few of these items may help you find problems with your heating and air conditioning system, and avoid costly repair bills in the future.
There are many variables when it comes to air conditioning and repair costs in the Atlanta area, so make sure you do your research before choosing the company to do your repair or replacement.