Saving on energy costs doesn't have to require a massive overhaul of your home. Here are some simple ways to save.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling.* If you want your utility bills to go down, the best thing you can do is focus on maximizing your home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems throughout the year. Here are four ways to do just that.
If your home still boasts an “old-fashioned” thermostat—the kind where you manually adjust the temperature setting with no pre-set options—it’s time to invest in a programmable thermostat. Priced anywhere from $40 to upwards of $150 (for thermostats that you can operate remotely via your smartphone), programmable thermostats allow you to implement a pre-set schedule to turn on heating or air-conditioning.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting thermostats to 68°F during waking hours in the winter and lowering it during sleeping hours or when you’re away from home. In the summer, set your programmable thermostat to 78° only when you’re at home. Doing so could save you as much as 10 percent annually.**
You can improve your home’s heating and cooling system’s efficiency by at least 20 percent when you seal and insulate the ducts that move air to and from furnaces and air conditioners, according to the EPA.* Tackle ducts in accessible areas—garages, attics, basement utility rooms or crawlspaces—and seal seams and connections them using mastic sealant or metal tape (not duct tape!).
You’re probably familiar with the adage, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” That might apply to some things in life—but it definitely does not apply to your home’s HVAC system. Investing the money required to have a professional HVAC contractor conduct semi-annual maintenance check-ups could very likely save you more money down the road for two reasons: a well-tuned system runs more efficiently, and also helps you avoid costly repairs.
A reputable contractor will tighten all electrical connections, monitor system controls, lubricate moving parts, check your thermostat settings, and also take a close look at key mechanical items, such as condensation drains, air conditioning coils, blower components and gas connections. Yes, professional maintenance requires money, but you’ll likely recoup whatever fee you pay in an HVAC that runs efficiently. Plus, it’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.
Make a note in your calendar (or download the Filtrete™ Smart App via your smartphone) to replace the air filter in your HVAC unit regularly. How regularly? At least every three months for 1” filters—or more often to maintain proper airflow. Why? Filters can make an impact on your home’s overall energy efficiency. Dirty filters may require your HVAC to work harder, and therefore less efficiently. On the other hand, a clean filter will decrease the likelihood of system failure or expensive maintenance.