Top 10 Tips to Save Energy on Heating and Cooling

Spring is the perfect time to start thinking about ways to save on heating and cooling bills. The worst of winter may be behind us, but cold temperatures still plague much of the nation—especially at night when thermometers plummet down to near-freezing…or worse. And during the day things tend to heat up to the point where switching your HVAC system over to the cool setting might be necessary. We’ll go through 10 tricks to help keep your home at optimal temps either way.

 

    1. Cover Your Windows

Windows, although more energy efficient than ever, can be a primary culprit for thermal transfer. Consider buying insulating drapes that will help to cut down on cold drafts and heat loss without breaking the bank. The same technique is also helpful for keeping out unwanted heat on those warmer days. If your home’s windows are old and poorly insulated, you may wish to consider replacing them altogether with more energy efficient models.

  1. Uncover Your Windows

On the flip side, if it’s cold during the day, open the insulating blinds or drapes to allow the sun to warm the house. You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make in rooms that receive direct sunlight.

  1. Up Your Insulation

As the name implies, insulation is the primary source for insulating your home from cold and heat. The greater the level of insulation, the less your home will be affected by exterior temperature changes and the more easily you will be able to control the temperature inside.

There are many different types of insulating materials and the best choice is often dependent on where the insulation is being placed. For example, insulating concrete is often used for foundation walls, whereas blown-in insulation is usually used in attic spaces.

Keep in mind that heat rises and cold air falls, so the attic is often a prime culprit when accounting for insulation loss within a home. Also, an older home, unless it has been renovated, is often not insulated to the same levels as today’s modern home.

  1. Look for Leaks

A great way to figure out what corrective actions to take is to actually find any air leaks. An inspection of the openings around your home can provide a great deal of insight. For example, take a look at window and door frames. Electrical, plumbing and gas lines that enter the home can also be primary culprits. Basically anywhere on the exterior of the home that had a hole cut so that something could be installed or routed. Are there gaps around any of these opening where air is leaking? A set of expert eyes can be helpful for this and there are companies out there who provide professional energy audits.

 

  1. Fix the Leaks

Once you or an energy auditor has determined the points of leaks, it’s time to seal them off. What’s used to seal the leaks will depend on where the leaks are. For doors, weatherstripping is usually the most appropriate remedy. For windows, caulk will often work best. Foam spray insulation is usually used around pipes. Each situation will be unique, which is why these fixes are best left to the pros.

  1. Fire Your Fireplace

A fireplace can be an excellent source of heat in those frigid winter months, but when it’s not in use, the chimney is one giant air vent in and out of your home. Be sure to close the damper to block off the flue (and don’t forget to open it again before using). It’s imperative to make sure the damper creates a tight seal, so have a professional come out to service your chimney if this is not the case.

  1. Semi-Annual Service

Once you’ve corrected insulation and air leak issues, it’s time to focus on your home’s heating and cooling units. Getting these units serviced on a bi-annual basis is an excellent way to keep them in top-running condition. If tests prove that there are efficiency problems, consider having the unit fixed or even replaced, which may actually save you money in the long run.

  1. Keep Tabs on the Thermostat

Technology has impacted the way that we do nearly everything. Controlling your home’s temperature is no exception. If your home is still equipped with a manual thermostat, consider upgrading to an electronically programmable thermostat. These thermostats can be set to kick heat and air on and off at certain times of the day. That way, you can let temps fluctuate a little more while away at work, and bring them back to a comfortable temp by the time you get home. There are even some systems that can be controlled remotely from your smartphone.

  1. Stay Out of Hot Water

Your hot water tank may be using more electricity than it actually needs to. If the water from your faucets is hotter than it needs to be, turn down the temperature on the hot water heater to save some energy. When it comes time to replace the hot water heater, you may even want to consider switching to a tankless (also known as instant) hot water heater. These can be powered by either electricity or gas and heat up water on an as-needed basis. This saves energy by eliminating the need to keep an entire tank warm all the time.

  1. Pick a Pro

Since we’re talking about efficiency, working with a professional will be the most efficient way to accomplish all of the tasks above. Once they come out to meet with you in your home, they may have additional ideas about how to save even more money. Get in touch with a local contractor today.