(BPT) - As the seasons change, turn over a new leaf and give your home an energy makeover. You can improve your home's comfort while helping the environment by making your home more energy efficient, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, a variety of compatible technologies are available to help manage your home's comfort systems more efficiently and economically. Here are some tips to get you started.
Schedule an overall home energy audit: How does your energy use at home measure up? Annual analysis of home energy efficiency can save you money in the long run and ensure your home runs smoothly. A certified energy auditor will complete an energy analysis of your home by measuring windows and checking insulation, ductwork and building materials. You can identify local certified professional energy assessment services through Residential Energy Services Network. Taking five minutes with energy bills at hand, you can also input your information online at Home Energy Yardstick by Energy Star to receive a topline home energy analysis.
Improve comfort while staying efficient: Up to 72 trillion allergens find their way into your home every day. Not only can dirty air make your family less comfortable, but it can also pose problems for how efficiently your systems continue to work. By installing a reliable indoor air cleaner, you can remove irritating particles such as dust, pollen, pet hair and dander, dust mites, mildew, lint, fungus and bacteria, which can slow the performance of your overall heating and cooling system. For example, an energy-efficient model, such as the AccuClean from American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, an Ingersoll Rand brand, removes up to 99.98 percent of allergens down to 0.1 micron in size, making it 100 times more effective than a standard one-inch throwaway filter.
Adjust your thermostat: Another way to manage home energy is to simply adjust your thermostat. For every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer, you can cut cooling costs up to 6 percent, and for every degree you lower your thermostat in the winter, you can save about 3 percent. (Potential energy savings may vary, depending on such factors as your lifestyle, system settings, equipment maintenance, local climate, equipment and duct systems.) A programmable thermostat is loaded with a multitude of built-in sensors, reminders and alerts, and it allows you to program as many as four energy-saving schedules for every day of the week, to reduce energy consumption up to 15 percent.
Manage energy efficiency from anywhere, even while you're away: For the ultimate in convenience, you can even monitor and adjust your home's ecosystem from anywhere using most Web-enabled mobile devices. For instance, Nexia Home Intelligence, also a brand of Ingersoll Rand, combines wireless technology with simple Web access. You can use it to reduce energy consumption and costs by putting your heating and cooling system into an energy savings mode while you're not there, plus control numerous other functions to manage the comfort, safety and efficiency of your home while you're away.
Choose energy efficient products: If you're looking for new energy-efficient products such as doors, heating and cooling systems and windows, ensure they are labeled with the Energy Star designation. The EPA's Energy Star program was created to reduce the nation's energy consumption. For more information on reducing energy use, visit www.epa.gov/greenhomes/ReduceEnergy.htm.
By taking steps to give your home an energy makeover, you'll not only keep your family more comfortable, but you'll also save money by streamlining home operations - so you can spend more time enjoying the seasons.