As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills – and on your comfort! Take these steps to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.
- Change your filter regularly. We’re having a very hot summer and our air conditioners are getting a workout! You should check your filters every month, but especially during heavy use months (summer and winter). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down airflow and make your system work harder to keep you warm or cool, essentially wasting energy. A clean filter will help prevent dust and dirt build-up in the system, which if left unchecked can lead to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.
- Yearly HVAC maintenance. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.
- Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs according to Energy Star.
- Seal your heating and cooling ducts. Ducts that move air to and from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent – and sometimes much more.
- Consider installing high efficiency heating and cooling equipment. If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 year old or not keeping your home comfortable, you should have it looked at by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the Energy Star rating. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency heating and cooling units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.