If you are like me, opening your utility bills for the next several months can cause a bit of angst.  Now that summer is here to stay (at least I think it is), cooling bills are going to be higher.  Watering your landscaping or adding water to the pool?  You will see a jump in your water bill as well.  So what can you do to take the sting out of those month bills?  Here are a few tips:

  • Install programmable thermostats.  There are many different kinds to choose from, but basically, they all work the same way.  You program the climate control system so that the air conditioning temperature setting is higher (or lower if using the heat) during the day if no one is home.  There are several “smart” thermostats available now that will sense movement in a room and adjust the temperature accordingly.  You can even adjust the temperature using an app on your smartphone.  These “smart” thermostats quickly learn your home and away patterns, which help your climate control systems be more efficient.  Depending on which electric company you select, some will even give you a free programmable thermostat. 
  • Do you have ceiling fans?  They are more than just a nice decoration – they can actually help keep the air moving in your home.  And they cost pennies a day to run – much less expensive then running an air conditioner or portable heaters.  Make sure you switch the fan direction forward (counterclockwise) for summer and reverse (clockwise) for the winter.  Also remember to switch them off once you leave the room.
  • Take a peak in the attic.  Does your insulation look compacted?  It might be time to add an extra layer.  Since hot air rises, the attic is one of the biggest places where heat loss appears.  How much insulation do you need?  The US Department of Energy puts out several guides – and a trusted home contractor can also help.
  • Replace lightbulbs.  Switching your lightbulbs to LED bulbs is an easy fix.  Today’s light fixtures are designed to reduce energy costs, which, believe it or not, could be up to one-third of your home’s monthly electric bill!
  • Thinking about updating your kitchen?  Consider Energy Star-rated appliances.  Refrigerators and ovens are the major energy users in your kitchen, and replacing them with more efficient models will not only lower your electric bill, but could also add resale value if you plan on selling in the future.
  • Programmable timers are also useful for landscaping/watering systems.  These timers are getting "smart" as well, with several models available.  Since some of the newer models an be programmed to water only when needed, this could save a lot of money and water.  

I would love to hear from you if you have some other tips or have questions about finding a reliable contractor to help you with some of these projects.  Give me a call or text – Team Heitz is here to help!