How to Save Money?
Cooling and heating are expensive, especially for people, who live in hot or cold climate. We prepared 6 tips for Canadians, which will help you make your home the low-cost energy leader on the block. We include upfront costs and payback for each of our tips, but the actual figures depend on your individual house, region, climate, living habits and electric rates.
Tip 1: Replace your old air conditioner
Paying higher upfront payment for the most efficient unit possible (SEER 14 or higher) makes sense in hot climates since the early investment will be paid back in energy savings over time. It makes less sense in cooler climates.
Replacing a 10-year-old window or central AC unit with an Energy Star model can cut your cooling costs by 30 to 50 percent and save you enough over the new unit’s lifetime to offset its purchase price.
Tip 2: Switch to CFLs
You already know that compact fluorescent light bulbs cut lighting costs, but they cut cooling costs too. Unlike incandescents, they give off very little heat. 90% of the electricity used by an incandescent bulb is redone to heat rather than light. That extra heat means extra cooling expenses.
Tip 3: Install a programmable thermostat
This is another easy upgrade that pays back very fast. Setting your cooling system four to six degrees warmer when you’re away at work or on vacation and automatically lowering it to 78 degrees when you’re home can cut 5 to 20 percent off your energy bill. This simple DIY project takes less than an hour.
Tip 4: Clean or change AC filters monthly
Dirty air filters slow airflow and make the blower fan and cooling system work hardly. Also dirt causes air conditioning breakdowns and they cost about 7% more in energy costs (or about $45 a year) in hot climates. Change central AC furnace filters monthly during the summer. Most window units have a removable filter behind the air inlet grille that you can take out and rinse monthly.
Tip 5: Fix leaks in AC ducting
If your home was built in the past 10 years or so, it most likely has well-sealed ductwork. But if you live in an older home, 10-40 % of your cooling dollars is lost through gaps in the duct joints. This cool air is wasted when the ducts run through an attic, crawlspace or basement. This can be a tough DIY project to do effectively since it takes a professional to test for leaks before and after the repairs. It you’re game for sealing the ducts yourself, examine your ductwork for fractures, splits or bad connections and feel for escaping air when your system is on. Keep the ducts cool after you seal the leaks by insulating them with R-6 or higher fiberglass duct wrap if they run through a hot attic.
Tip 6: Block out sun with window shades
Approximately 30% of unwanted heat comes through your windows. Putting shades, insulating curtains or tinted window film on south- and west-facing windows can save you up to 7%, or $45, annually on cooling costs. The conjunction of shades and trees can lower indoor temps by 20 degrees on a hot day. Insulating curtains will save even more on both heating and cooling costs.