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By Steve Jacobs
No matter where you live, chances are you occasionally need to change the temperature inside your house. Whether you’re making it hotter or cooler, the costs associated with this can get high.
There’s a fairly good chance you can save by taking a few precautionary measures when it comes to the big four energy suckers: heating, air conditioning, lighting and water heating.
Follow a few of these simple tips to potentially save on your energy costs while maintaining optimal conditions in your home.
When in doubt, put it on a timer. If you own your home, installing a smart temperature control system is a wise decision that may cost you upfront, but will save you money down the line.
These systems allow you to set the thermostat for different times of the day, so you’re only expending energy in the hours you’re around. Set the temperature to raise or lower by 3-5 degrees when you’re away.
That would be an uncomfortable leap if you were in the house, but since you won’t be there, your plants and pets won’t mind the shift. It should be easy enough to bring your temperature back to an ideal setting when you get home – or when you’re on your way. Smart thermostats, connected to the internet, allow you to fiddle with the temperature settings via your smartphone or computer.
The same is true of lighting or your water heater. With lighting, you can set timers to turn off any lights you may have forgotten about when you left the house. With your water, a timer can make sure you aren’t heating up excessive water during the hours when you aren’t home.
Filters are all-too-often forgotten in routine home maintenance. Your air filters should be replaced fairly regularly. On top of keeping the air clean in your home, a dirty air filter means your air conditioner or heater must push even harder to force air through, bringing up costs even further.
Heating and cooling are major components of your energy usage. Depending on where you live, air conditioning can make up almost 58% of your monthly bill. Ceiling fans are a real money saver in both of these situations.
In the heat, a high-speed fan sucks cool air up from the floor to the ceiling. This movement of air over your skin can help you feel dramatically cooler. And in the colder months, a ceiling fan can be reversed, pushing down the hot air near the ceiling, heating the entire room in the process.
Part of good energy efficiency is learning the balance between what you’d like to have and what you actually have. This may mean setting the thermostat a few degrees warmer or cooler than you’d like, taking shorter showers or doing your laundry in cold water instead of hot. It may mean using more natural light from windows instead of lamps and overhead lights.
Whatever the case may be, you’ll find that if you set something as the standard, you can adjust and become used to it in no time at all.
For answers to questions surrounding home ownership, visit the USAA Home Learning Center.
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