Tips to Save on Heating and Cooling Costs

Operating your heat and A/C can account for more than half your energy bill – learn how to cut costs with these easy changes.

  • Energy used to heat and cool our home spaces account for 54% of a typical home’s energy costs
  • 20% of all energy usage is due to heating water.
  • The expense of our heating and cooling systems are usually the largest energy expenses

Heating and cooling account for 50% to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. Today’s technologies give us more options than ever when it comes to the heating and cooling systems in our homes. These technological advances also offer greater energy efficiency which can add up to big savings for homeowners. If you are looking to save some money, reducing the amount of energy expended to run your HVAC systems is a great place to start.

Take some control over your home’s energy consumption:

Programmable Thermostats

You can save some serious money simply by adjusting your thermostat when you are not home or are asleep. The easiest way to do this is to install a programmable thermostat which will automate this effort. Using programmable thermostats, you can adjust the times that heat and cooling turn on and off according to your preset schedule. Most allow for storing multiple daily settings to accommodate your weekly activities. Some even have Smartphone apps so you can make adjustments from wherever you are! A new thermostat is an easy install that most homeowners can do themselves, and can be installed in a few minutes. You can save as much as 10% per year on heating and cooling simply by utilizing a programmable thermostat to manage your settings!

Ducts & Water Pipes

We don’t typically spend a lot of time thinking about the ductwork and pipes running behind the scenes of our homes, but properly sealed, insulated and well-placed ducts and water pipes have a big impact on energy bills.

Your home’s duct system and water pipes typically run through the walls, floors and ceilings, and are essential elements of heating and cooling systems. When ducts leak heated air into unheated spaces (like your attic), the result is hundreds more dollars per year in energy costs. Ductwork and pipes in unfinished spaces without insulation also contribute significant costs because the system must run more to maintain temperature from the influence of the unconditioned, and dramatic temperature fluctuations in these spaces.

Controlling Humidity & Ventilation

Controlling humidity and ventilation is a critical part of your heating and cooling, and have a big impact on the efficiency of your HVAC systems. Moisture in your home affects the efficiency of your air sealing and ventilation efforts, which in turn can create additional demand on HVAC equipment use. Maintaining good levels of humidity, and keeping airflow healthy and consistent in your home will keep your heating and cooling from having to work overtime.

Sealing Air Leaks

Some air leaks in a home are inevitable, and even healthy, but when too much air can infiltrate in an uncontrolled manner, the result is Significant increases in energy consumption which will hit you in your wallet. Caulking cracks and openings in building materials, and installing weather-stripping around doors and windows, is a relatively quick and simple solution, and one that most homeowners can do themselves over the course of a weekend.

Your efforts to seal up air leaks generally have immediate payoff, and you should certainly see good results within the first year.

Maintain Your HVAC Systems

Whenever we ignore necessary maintenance and upkeep around the house, energy consumption is often impacted. Having regular maintenance, and planning for preventive care, of all HVAC units is one of the best ways to preserve the lifespan of this expensive equipment, and keep them running efficiently so they don’t use excess energy.

Simply by replacing the filter in your furnace every month or so during high-use months goes a long way in the equipment’s efficiency, improving efficiency and energy consumption by 50%.

Having a professional inspect and service your equipment on an annual basis is critical to units running efficiently, and helps you avoid emergency service repair situations (which cost big bucks). This is a relatively inexpensive investment in these systems that keep us comfortable and safe in our homes.

For excellent resources on home energy efficiency check out:

https://energy.gov/energysaver/

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