Daylight Savings Time is here – on March 13th we spring forward one hour in anticipation of warmer weather and longer days. Daylight Savings Time also serves as an excellent opportunity for homeowners to practice habits that conserve resources during warmer months when the demand for energy and water increases.
Here are five items every homeowner should check off their daylight savings checklist to not only save water and energy, but also money on utility bills:
Install a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats adjust the temperature in your home automatically, maximizing your energy savings and making life easier. Once installed, set the device to heat your home only when you are there. Turning back your thermostat ten degrees while your family is typically out during the day can save as much as 10 percent on your heating and cooling bills.
Check your air filters
If you live in a temperate climate, your HVAC system has likely been working overtime all winter to keep your house warm. If you haven’t been giving it regular attention, it’s time to start. Cleaning and replacing your filters is the most important maintenance task you can perform to ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner. If your filter is clogged or dirty, it could be blocking normal airflow and reducing your system’s efficiency.
Drain and maintain your water heater
It’s important to drain your water heater at least once a year to move sediment from the bottom of your tank to outside of the tank. If left undrained, this sediment will make your water heater work a lot harder, ultimately reducing its life expectancy and costing you more money in energy bills. Water heaters account for an average of 12 percent of home energy costs. In addition to checking annually for sediment buildup, lowering the temperature on the unit to about 120 degrees will help reduce the amount of energy it consumes.
Be on the lookout for air leaks
Those tiny drafts in your home may have a big impact on your utility bill. Energy Star estimates that home air leaks can account for up to 40 percent of the energy used to heat and cool your home. Locate the air leaks in windows, doors and other areas of your home and seal them with caulk or rubber sealant.
Know what your homeowners insurance does and doesn’t cover
Take a close look at your current homeowners insurance plan – most importantly, what your current plan does and doesn’t cover. Enrolling in a supplemental home system protection program that covers gaps in coverage can protect you from unexpected events, saving you money in the long run.