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Posted 06/19/2019 in Category 1

Heating and Cooling Tips for Homeowners

Heating and Cooling Tips for Homeowners

Reduce Your Energy Bills With These Simple Steps

One of the most integral parts of a home is its heating and cooling system, which is commonly known as an HVAC (Heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system. The HVAC system regulates the climate inside our home, making sure the conditions remain pleasant and liveable.

Air conditioning is an integral part of an HVAC system. According to reports, 75% of all homes in the United States are equipped with air conditioners. Homeowners in the country pay a staggering $29 billion annually in lieu of air conditioning bills. This is about 6% of all electricity that the United States produces in a year. The cost in dollars is not the only one that we pay for using air conditioners. Environmentalists estimate that air conditioning is responsible for the release of 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The environmental cost of using air conditioners to stay cool during the summers is something that should be considered, but that is a topic for another day.

Heating, on the other hand, is something that the average American spends more on than any other system in their home. It makes up approximately 42% of all utility costs paid by homeowners in the country.  The heating system in our homes can be powered through various sources; currently, almost 50% of Americans use natural gas to power it. Other sources include propane or LPG, fuel oil, and wood. Here’s a breakdown of what America uses to power it's heating system:

Source: Household Heating Systems: Although several different types of fuels are available to heat our homes, nearly half of us use natural gas. | Source: Buildings Energy Data Book 2011

Alongside heating and cooling, the third element that makes up the HVAC system is ventilation. Through ventilation, the air inside the home is exchanged or regulated to improve the air quality in the room. The purpose of ventilation is to remove odors, replenish oxygen, control temperature, disseminate smoke, heat, dust, bacteria, and carbon dioxide, all directed towards the improvement of air quality. The introduction of HVAC systems meant the introduction of mechanical ventilation from buildings, primarily to control the temperature, ensuring that the costs of heating and cooling are brought down.

Now that we have learned about HVAC systems and how they help in making the conditions in our home liveable let us talk a little about the energy costs associated with them. Considering the heavy usage of air conditioners and heating, it is important that we understand that the HVAC system of our homes can become a burden on our budget if proper care is not ensured.

Here are a few tips you can practice to cut down energy costs at home and make full use of your heating and cooling system.

Routine Maintenance of the HVAC System

The first thing to ensure is that you have your HVAC maintenance service schedule regular maintenance after at least every six months. Semi-annual maintenance can ensure that your HVAC system is operating at its most efficient settings and that all the parts and equipment attached to it are in order and are not consuming any more energy than they should.  Making this a practice can significantly affect your HVAC energy costs and help in reducing them so that paying for heating and cooling at home does not force you to break the bank.

Make Sure Your HVAC is Operating at Stable and Optimum Temperatures

The temperature that you set on your thermostat mainly depends on your personal preference. However, there are systems that recommend temperature ranges that are optimum and ensure your system is using energy efficiently. You can study the owner’s manual or consult an HVAC maintenance service professional to figure out what the most energy-efficient temperature range is. Other than this, you should not change the temperature too frequently or set unrealistic temperature ranges that force your HVAC system to work harder than usual. An an ideal example of this is setting your AC’s temperature low on a hot day.

Seal Drafts in Your Home

Drafts are a problem that most people look to address in the winters when the air starts getting into their homes, and the warm air inside starts leaving it. But this does not have to be the case, and it should not be. Air leaks during any season affect the efficiency of our HVAC system, causing it to consume more energy than it should, which leads to a significant increase in energy bills.

Beef Up Your Insulation

Lack of insulation leads to loss of heating and cooling inside the house, which means that the HVAC system has to work more than it should leading to increase energy consumption. The pattern is obvious, and inadequate insulation should be addressed as soon as possible to make sure there is no added burden on your budget.

Turn Down the Thermostat

The US Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat at 7° to 10°F for as much as 8 hours a day. They state that you can witness a 10% saving on your annual heating and cooling bill if you establish the habit of turning down the thermostat. While this is a relatively small step when the energy savings are put into perspective, they translate into approximately $4 billion for homeowners in the country.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you don’t have one already, stop with everything and get a programmable thermostat to complement your HVAC system. It will go a long way in reducing your energy costs, especially when you aren’t at home by making sure your HVAC system isn’t working on full capacity to maintain the temperature at home when you aren’t there. When the HVAC isn’t working, it isn’t consuming energy leading to reduced energy bills.

Change Air Filters Regularly

When you change your HVAC system’s air filter regularly, you make sure that the system has smooth and uninterrupted airflow increasing the efficiency of the entire system. An ideal way to go about it is to have the filters changed every month to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the HVAC system.

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