Energy bills are often one of a homeowner's biggest household expenses. If you've been looking for ways to lower yours, but aren't sure how to go about doing this, here are some ideas which could be of use.
Insulate your floors
Most modern homes nowadays are built with energy efficiency in mind; they usually have wall-cavity and loft insulation, as well as other features such as double-glazed windows. However, very few come equipped with floor insulation, despite the fact that, according to this website, approximately 15% of a property's cold and hot air can be lost through its floors.
As such, if you're keen to reduce the cost of your utility bills, it may be a good idea to invest in some under-floor insulation materials. If your flooring is made from timber, mineral wool is usually the most suitable option; it can be positioned below the floorboards, in between each of the joists. For concrete floors, you can purchase thermal insulation boards made from a substance called polyisocyanurate. Floor insulation is generally quite inexpensive, and you can cut costs even further if you are willing (and able) to fit the insulation yourself, instead of hiring a tradesperson to do it for you.
Maintain your HVAC system
Making sure that your air conditioning and heating systems are functioning correctly is perhaps one of the best ways to reduce your utility bills. Consistent maintenance will increase their efficiency and prolong their lifespan. Replace your air conditioning unit's filters regularly, and clean its evaporator coils and condenser about once every two months (you may need to increase the frequency of these tasks during the summer season, when the unit is being used more often). About once a year, you should also lubricate the unit's moving parts, such as its bearings and its motor.
To keep your heating system running efficiently, check the heat exchanger for leaks on a regular basis; if you spot any, make sure to contact a HVAC specialist as soon as possible to have the problem repaired. You should also inspect the thermostat, ignition and burner frequently, to ensure that they are all operating as they should be. If, like many households, you have a ducted heating system, change its air filter twice a year. Additionally, the vent grates should be removed, washed and dried every few months, to prevent a buildup of dust and grime which could make the system less efficient.