According to the Department of Energy, “Heating and cooling account for about 56% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making them among the largest energy expenses.” Finding ways to reduce home energy consumption can substantially lower utility bills.
1.) Have HVAC Equipment Inspected Annually
Hire a professional to inspect HVAC systems annually. Professionals will check the system for blockage or leaks, make sure there is no rust or corrosion, and inspect the wiring. Regularly maintaining filters, coils and fins will enable the system to run properly. A 2012 FoxBusiness.com article noted, “This isn’t just about safety; it’s also about preventive maintenance. It’s about sometimes catching a problem before your furnace quits working in the middle of the night.” Preventive repairs help guarantee that it the HVAC system functioning at optimal capacity.
2.) Seal and Insulate Home
Gaps and cracks in a home’s outer walls, ceilings, windows, and floors can let in as much airflow as an open window. This causes the heating and cooling systems to work harder, which decreases efficiency.
According to ENERGY STAR, “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% -- and sometimes much more.” They recommend sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. For instructions on how to seal air ducts, read their Duct Sealing brochure.
3.) Change Air Filters Regularly
The Department of Energy found that regularly replacing air filters can lower energy bills by 5-15% per month. Dirty filters create unnecessary tear and wear on equipment and result in lower air quality. Clean air filters prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system and causing expensive repairs and possible system failure.
Homeowners should check air filters regularly, especially during months of heavy use (winter and summer). Air filters should be changed at least every 90 days. However, they may need to be changed more frequently during summer and winter. Change air filters regularly to protect equipment and air quality.
4.) Replace Old Equipment
Old equipment that is not functioning efficiently should be replaced with a unit that has been approved by ENERGY STAR. Replacing old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR approved equipment can reduce energy bills by up to $200 per year.