New Year’s Resolutions for the Energy Saver
February is the time when we begin to reevaluate our New Year’s resolutions. What were they again? It’s common to feel guilty this time of year as we realize we haven’t put as much energy as we had hoped into make positive changes for ourselves and the world around us. Old habits are hard to break.
Well, don’t feel bad! According to U.S. News & World Report, around 80% of people fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions by mid-February. What is the secret of the other 20%? In many cases their success is due to setting simple, measurable goals for themselves. It’s one thing to make a vague pledge to “hit the gym more often,” but quite another to commit to doing something specific, like 20 push-ups a day. It’s also helpful in many cases to have access to social reinforcement, as is done in joining a team or club.
Most resolutions seem to center — rightfully so — on improving one’s own mental, physical, or spiritual well-being — but we often forget the important role our home environment plays in each of those areas.
Well, maybe that’s changing. On New Year’s Day, 2019, Netflix released the series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” which became an instant sensation with people around the world. The show teaches the process of de-cluttering human living spaces through application of the “KonMari” method, which basically prescribes discarding anything in the home that is neither loved nor functional. On the other hand, any item that “sparks joy” is worthy of keeping. The change of perspective one gains from this process — not to mention the associated simplification of one’s home environment — is widely accepted as providing a renewed sense of peace and happiness.
When our resolutions are truly transformed into habits, our living spaces become safer, healthier, more energy efficient and cost-effective, which frees us up to devote our focus to more important things — like tackling that closet full of clothes. To help with your new KonMari commitments, here are four tips to help make your house a more harmonious place for both the people in it and the world outside it.
Learn How to Use Your Programmable Thermostat
According to the US Department of Energy, those who install a programmable thermostat save an estimated ten percent on overall heating and cooling costs. However, as The Washington Post reports, this is only true of those who read the manual and learn to use this new equipment properly. Too many people go to the trouble and expense of installing a programmable thermostat and then just “set it and forget it” in the same way they did their traditional mechanical model.
Programmable thermostats allow you to set your HVAC system to operate at the exact time and temperature of your choosing. Save energy and money by letting the system idle when you are away from home, then switch back on to heat or cool your house in time to be comfortable when you return. These units are available across a wide range of price points, and many sync to smartphone apps —meaning you can exercise complete control from any place on Earth where you have a phone or wi-fi connection!
Schedule Routine HVAC Maintenance
You can expect years of trouble-free, efficient service from modern HVAC systems, but only if you are diligent about routine maintenance. An annual visit from a professional service technician is essential to the longevity of any heating and air conditioning system. annual professional maintenance is essential. You wouldn’t skip an oil change for your car, and you mustn’t skip your HVAC checkup, either!
It’s important to understand that this type of service is not just for the sake of your HVAC service center’s bottom line — its also essential to the validity of the warranty from your equipment’s manufacturer. Regular maintenance ensures your whole system is running safely and efficiently, and prevents more costly repair down the line. A routine checkup may save you a lot of money!
Change Your Air Filter
It is easy to forget this simple task — but vitally important that it is done on a regular basis. Stop right now and think, “When was the last time I changed the air filter in my HVAC system?” If you don’t know, or it was longer than 30 days ago, you should check it right now. Letting your air filter go longer than 90 days at the most means breathing dirtier air and spending more money to heat and cool your house, as the volume of airflow running through your system is diminished when the filter is dirty. Write a reminder to check it once a month on your calendar or set a reminder on your smartphone.
Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
Upgrading old, inefficient appliances to newer energy-saving models can save you more than you think. Making the commitment to replace all your existing equipment comes with up-front expense but over time the savings on your monthly energy bills typically more than make up for the cost. If you’re going to start this process, consider starting with your refrigerator, the one appliance in every house that is in constant operation.
When shopping for new appliances, we highly recommend looking toward Energy Star products, as they are the most cost efficient. Many states and localities offer rebates for purchase of these appliances, as well, which can help defray the initial cost of purchase and installment.
Good luck on your New Year’s resolutions — but don’t beat yourself up if you happen to fall short. The key to success is setting small, measurable goals that won’t intimidate or overwhelm you. And should you need any help making your home safer or more energy-efficient, don’t hesitate to ask an expert at Comfort Systems.
Contact Comfort Systems for a Certified Lennox Premier HVAC technicians in the Wichita Metro Area and surrounding Kansas communities.