5 Ways To Reduce Energy Costs On Heating And Cooling
If you, like many other Americans, pay too much for your heating and cooling, you may be wondering how you can reduce energy usage. While, there are times when a total system replacement is needed, in many cases, there are some things you can do around your house to boost the efficiency of your current HVAC system. Check out these five ways you can reduce energy costs.
Check Insulation Levels
If you home is older, you may not have adequate insulation inside your attic, walls, and ceiling. This is because heating the home was so incredibly cheap, the cost of more insulation seemed like a waste of money. However, now that heating and cooling costs are rising, adding more insulation can help. First, check the attic. You should have about 10 to 14 inches of insulation, depending on the type of insulation. You can simply add more insulation on top of the existing material, and it doesn't have to be the same type. Filling your walls may be difficult, but there is loose-fiber insulation you can blow into small holes in the wall. Don't forget to add insulation around ductwork that passes through non-temperature-controlled zones.
Repair and Clean the Ductwork
While you're adding insulation to your ducts, check for damage too. It's estimated that about 20 to 30 percent of the air traveling through your vents escapes before it reaches the living space. This is due to gaps and holes in the ducts. You can repair them with metal tape or hire a professional to fix hard-to-reach ducts. You should also hire someone to clean your ducts occasionally. As dust and debris collect on the walls of the duct, it narrows them, making it harder for the air to push through the thin tunnels. This causes your system to work harder, leading to more frequent breakdowns.
Use Ceiling Fans and Curtains Properly
If you have a ceiling fan in any room of you home, you have an excellent opportunity to save money on heating bills. During the winter, you crank up the heat, but hot air rises, so most of that heat heads for the ceiling instead of the bottom portion of the room where you are. If you turn the ceiling fan to reverse, it won't blow cold air downward. Instead, it will push the hot air downward, so you use less energy to keep the lower part of the room warm. Curtains can also be used to block the transfer of heat. On hot days, keep insulated curtains closed to block heat from entering. During the winter, keep insulated drapes closed to keep the warm air inside your home away from the cold glass windows, which leads to drafts.
Pay for Routine Maintenance
Routine maintenance is a must for any major system or appliance in your home, and your HVAC system is no different. Some maintenance you can do yourself. For example, you likely replace or clean your filter yourself, and you may even lubricate some moving parts. However, getting a professional out every once and awhile, ensures the system stays working, especially during peak hours. A professional can also look for any potential problems, make small repairs and service the system. Common signs your system needs repairs include strange noises, unpleasant odors, and turning off during peak usage.
Get a New System
In some cases, you do need a new system to really lower your heating and cooling costs. One reason you may need to replace your HVAC system is because it is old. Older systems that require frequent repairs are only wasting money because they aren't efficient, and the repairs only prolong the inevitable while wasting your money. Another common reason you may need a new system is the current one isn't the right size. If your system is too small, you will still feel hot in the summer and cold in the winter on some days. However, if your system is too big, the system will break down faster as it is forced to cycle on and off more frequently, causing wear and tear on the system.
While you may need to replace your HVAC system if it is old or simply can't do the job anymore, there are many tricks you can do to boost the efficiency of your current system. If you would like more information regarding air conditioning services, contact a technician in your area today.