Heating and air conditioning costs can skyrocket quickly, especially when there are extreme temperatures. Estimates say that heating and air conditioning eats up 43 percent of every utility bill. Homeowners are always wondering how they can reel in utility costs that seem out of control. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do.
Turn the thermostat a little higher, then run a fan or two. Fans create the illusion of a cooler environment. Because cold air sinks, it’s best to place your fan on an upper level of your home and blow it downwards. Evaporative cooling, which is what fans do, evaporates moisture from the air and your skin and carries heat away. When you use fans, you’ll be less dependent on your air conditioner.
Your home heats up when the sun beats on the roof or blazes through your windows. Trees that shade your home will provide a natural barrier to the sun’s hot rays and cold winter winds. There is a strategy to this, however. For summer shade, plant trees on the east, west, and northwest sides of the house. For winter protection, plant evergreen trees on the north and northwest sides. If you buy a tiny sapling, this option will take some time. But if you’re impatient, like some, you can buy a tree that’s already five or more feet tall. Depending on the tree, you could start having shade within one or two years.
Set Your Thermostat
Your thermostat strategy will need to be adjusted according to the type of heating and air conditioning system you have in your home. If you are using a heat pump system, you should avoid changing the thermostat more than two degrees up or down. If you change it any more than that, your heat pump will need to use more energy to heat up the backup strip. If you’re using natural gas or some other type of system, you can save by turning the heat down substantially at night. And regardless of the type of system, you can always turn the thermostat down while you’re vacationing. These kinds of energy-saving tricks can save you 5 to 20 percent!
Maintain Your System
Replace or clean the air filters for your system as suggested by the manufacturer. This will prevent the airflow from getting clogged with dirt and debris, which then leads to more energy use. Keeping it clean can save you up to 5 percent! Additionally, you should also schedule regular maintenance cleanings of your entire system.
Replace Your System
This may seem like an expensive option, but if you have an old system that’s eating up your energy bill, it makes a lot of sense to upgrade. Look for systems that have an Energy Star rating. While you may need to shell out some cash in the beginning, the savings will pay off. Ask the supplier about rebates that may be available.
Your heating and air conditioning bill doesn’t need to clean out your bank account. Even renters can look into practical options for reducing their energy bills. Plant a tree, use a fan, set your thermostat, and service your system—and watch your energy costs go down.