Energy Saving Tips
Since heating and cooling your home accounts for more than half of your energy use, it’s only smart to reduce waste. No matter what type of heating and cooling system you have in your home, some simple steps will increase efficiency and reduce environmental emissions from 20 to 50 percent. You can start by combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing and thermostat settings.
Install a programmable thermostat to easily raise and lower settings depending on your needs. Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the cold season and as high as is comfortable in the warm season. Raise or lower the setpoint, depending on the season, when you are sleeping or away from home.
Perform some heating and cooling house cleaning. Clean or replace air filters on furnaces and air conditioners once a month. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators when necessary. Make sure equipment is not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season. Keep in mind it’s often better to let the professionals handle this task.
Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and radiators. Make sure to turn off exhaust fans in the kitchen and bath within twenty minutes after your are finished cooking or bathing. When replacing exhaust fans, look for high-efficiency, low-noise models.
In summer, lower the air conditioner’s fan settings in order to remove more humidity and boost comfort while saving energy.
Sealing and insulating ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner or heat pump can improve the efficiency of your HVAC system by as much as 20 percent. Concentrate on sealing ducts that run through the attic, unheated basement or garage. Seal the seams and connections with duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape, then wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter.
You can also lessen the workload of your heating system by keeping draperies and shades on south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight inside and closed at night to reduce the chill from those same windows. During summer, help out your air conditioning by keeping window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat.