(BPT) - Things will soon be heating up all over the country. In fact, the average U.S. household will spend 3 percent more on electricity bills this summer than in 2017, due to rising retail electricity prices and higher usage, according to the U.S. Energy Administration’s estimation.
Jennifer Franz, an energy efficiency expert at Lennox, says the good news is that homeowners can spend just a few hours before the season starts to make some quick fixes and easy improvements that will help them save energy and make them more comfortable all summer long, including:
Mind the maintenance: Schedule an annual routine check-up for your heating and cooling equipment to keep the system running as efficiently as possible, and check the air filter each month to see if it needs to be replaced.
Keep it cool: Add extra insulation to the attic, which will help prevent your home’s heating and cooling system from having to work harder to regulate the indoor temperature during the hottest months of the year.
Control cracks: Seal cracks around windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping to prevent conditioned air from escaping.
Set it and forget it: Install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature at certain times of the day, automatically regulating the temperature when you’re away. In addition, always set your thermostat to the highest temperature you can stand to save the most money. Homeowners can save as much as 10 percent a year on cooling bills by setting their thermostat 7 to 10 degrees higher than its normal setting for eight hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Make a clean sweep: Decrease dust and dirt in the home by cleaning with non-toxic, natural household cleaners, such as baking soda, cornstarch or white vinegar, and using a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which will trap small particles like dust that others re-circulate back into the air.
Seal the deal: Examine the home’s pipes and connections, as well as all vents, and add caulking or sealant, if needed, to ensure they are air-tight.
Clear the air: Breathe easier this summer by installing a whole-home air purification system, such as the new Lennox PureAir S, which is integrated with your home’s heating and cooling system. These systems are much more effective at eliminating airborne contaminants than portable room air cleaners and don’t produce ozone, which is a known lung irritant.
Franz says homeowners should pay special attention to their heating and cooling system, which accounts for more than half of a home’s energy costs. “The easiest thing homeowners can do to save energy and stay comfortable during the summer — and all year long — is to change the air filter on their system regularly; however, if your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it’s time to consider replacing it with a more efficient system that will save significant energy and help lower utility bills.”
By taking on a few quick and easy home maintenance projects, homeowners can help reduce the amount of wasted energy, save money and stay comfortable as temperatures rise. To learn more about home energy efficiency and how to save money on utility bills, visit https://www.lennox.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Lennox.