Staying cool this summer--or warm this winter--can be costly.
Did you know that between 45 and 54 percent of a home’s energy costs go toward heating and cooling? Yes, Virginia, roughly HALF of your utility bill goes toward keeping your little piggies comfy. Now are you ready for the bombshell? Between 25-40 percent of that energy is wasted.
We can’t change the fact that we need to stay warm or cool, but we can take steps to prevent waste and get the most out of our hard earned money.
Here are five straightforward tips on keeping your heating/cooling system running at tip-top efficiency and lowering your utility bill in the process:
Install a Programmable Thermostat: Your house doesn’t need to be warm when you’re at work and the kids are at school all day. So why waste that energy? A programmable thermostat can adjust your home’s temperature based on the time of day. In the summer, when no one is at home, you won’t waste energy cooling your home. Conversely, in the winter you won’t waste heat.
Clean Your Heating & Cooling System: Contact a professional HVAC systems contractor to thoroughly clean all of your heating/cooling system’s components, including the furnace, cooling coils, blower motor and ductwork. Dirty cooling coils, for example, will fail to properly cool the air and hinder airflow in general, leading to reduced efficiency and higher energy bills.
If you regularly heed the advice given above, you’ll ensure that most of the heating and cooling energy in your home is being used to comfort you and your family--not being wasted.
Here's a helpful 3:17 minute video about energy savings that highlights the importance of routine maintenance.
Change Your Home Air Filter Regularly: It’s easy to forget to change your heating/cooling system’s air filter, often hidden in some dark and lonely crevice of your home. However, if that filter gets too clogged, your system will have to work much harder to achieve proper air flow throughout your home, leading to unnecessarily wasted energy and a higher bill at month’s end.
In fact, regular replacement of your home’s air filter can save $200 annually.
Also, make sure to select the correct filter for your home. Every HVAC filter has a MERV rating, which measures how efficiently the filter captures pollutants that pass through your heating and cooling system. These ratings range from 1 (least efficient) to 16 (extremely efficient).
Fortunately, there are products out there meant to help you save automatically. The CleanAlert FILTERSCAN WiFi®, for example, measures how clogged your air filter is and then sends an alert to your Smartphone telling you it is time for a filter replacement. This ends guesswork on how often should you change your HVAC filter, allowing you to ensure that your system is running efficiently.
Seal Your Ducts: Those tiny little holes and cracks in your furnace system’s ductwork can collectively add hundreds of dollars per year to your energy bills as the air escapes from them. Make sure to regularly check for air leaks and seal them with duct mastic or duct tape. Find additional tips on maintaining your ductwork here.
For More Tips on how to stop wasting your home's energy, download our FREE home energy savings checklist below. Four pages of helpful advice from the U.S. Department of Energy, WaterSense, EnergyStar and other industry experts.
If you have tips to share about how to improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system, please share them with us in the comments.