Heating and cooling systems account for 56 percent (or more) of energy used in a typical home, making it the largest energy expense for most households, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. By properly managing your HVAC (heating, cooling & ventilation) system, you can save money without sacrificing comfort.
- Combine proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, air sealing and thermostat settings, and you can cut your energy use for heating (and cooling).
- Make sure the air ducts of your HVAC system are sealed. A duct system that is well-designed and properly sealed can make your home more comfortable, energy efficient, and safer. In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, according to Energystar.gov, about 20 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.
- Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the cooler months. During winter months, you can save nearly 3 percent of heating costs for each degree your thermostat is lowered. A programmable thermostat will automatically adjust temperatures throughout the day, ensuring greater energy efficiency and enhanced comfort. According to Energystar.gov, through proper use of a programmable thermostat (using the 4 pre-programmed settings) you can save about $180 every year in energy costs.
- Clean or replace furnace filters once a month or as needed. A clogged filter causes your system to run harder, less efficiently and costs you more in monthly utility bills.
- Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed. Make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
- Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
- During cool days, keep draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from the cold windows.
- Long-Term Saving Tips. Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating equipment. When replacing old inefficient systems with new high efficient ones, you’ll see immediate savings on your utility bills.