According to the Department of Energy, heating and air conditioning account for slightly above 50% of the energy used in an average home. That’s more than the washer, refrigerator, dishwasher, dryer and all the light bulbs combined. While your heating and cooling system helps to keep your home comfortable, it can hurt your wallet if you are not careful. This article outlines ways to reduce your home’s cooling and heating costs.
1. Schedule regular maintenance
Having your HVAC system inspected every six months ensures it’s running at top speed at the lowest cost. They will inspect your furnace’s pilot system, tighten your electrical connections, check the heating and cooling operations, clean your burners, test the safety and limit switches, and more to make sure your system is running efficiently. Apart from increasing efficiency and reducing your energy cost, regular HVAC maintenance helps to eliminate issues in the bud before they lead to major damage. You should also consider retiring your HVAC system if it’s more than 10 years old.
2. Replace your filters regularly
Dirty air filters make your HVAC system work harder to heat or cool the air and can result in scary numbers on your heating bill. Aim to swap the filters once every month. Today there are electrostatic filters that trap allergens and pathogens, and they can’t function properly unless they are replaced regularly.
3. Maintain the ducts and vents
If you are using a central air conditioning unit, ensure the vents are properly insulated, especially those in areas that are not air-conditioned, such as the attic. You should also have a professional inspect the ducts for possible holes and leaks at least once a year. While duct tape offers a temporary solution, leaks and holes will eventually require to be repaired professionally.
4. Use your ceiling fans strategically
You can use your fans to reduce your heating and cooling costs in summer and winter. In summer, ensure the ceiling fans are running counterclockwise and bringing cooler air down. In winter, set the fans to run clockwise and set them low to help bring the warm air that has risen above the ceiling back down to the living area. While ceiling fans can’t completely replace your HVAC system, they are a great supplement. You can save up to 60% on your energy bill by only using the fans on a milder day.
5. Prevent heat build-up during the day
During the day, direct sunlight entering through the skylights and windows can lead to a lot of heat build-up inside the house. Be sure to draw back the blinds and drapes on windows that face direct sunlight to prevent heat build-up during the day, lowering the need to run your AC.
6. Only heat the rooms that are in use
If you have a guest room, storage, and any other room that is not in use, ensure you shut off the registers for those rooms. Your AC will use less energy to keep the rest of your home comfortable.
7. Seal cracks and crevices
You can increase the efficiency of your HVAC system by sealing cracks and crevices in and around your doors and windows. This is a simple DIY project if you have a caulking gun. Sealing cracks and crevices will prevent heat buildup during hot weather and hot air from finding its way out of the house during cold weather.
Whether you rent or own the house, these tips will help you save on your heating and cooling costs. Maintain your HVAC system, use fans strategically, prevent heat build in the house during the day and only heat areas that you are using.