You spend about half your energy bill staying warm or cool. This means you’ll save the most power by using your heating and cooling systems more efficiently.
- Put your blinds and curtains to work. In summer, shut them during the hottest part of the day. In winter, open them to let the heat in.
- Upgrade your windows. Consider installing storm or double-pane windows, which are at least twice as effective as their single-pane counterparts. Solar screens or window tinting will also boost your energy-efficiency.
- Check for leaks around windows, doors and duct work. If you find any, add caulking, weather-stripping, insulation, or mastic (respectively).
- Install outlet and switch gaskets on all exterior walls.
- Plant deciduous greenery on the south and west sides of your home. Their thick leaves will block the sun in the summer. However, they lose their leaves in winter, so you’ll still enjoy the warm rays.
- Look into additional attic insulation if needed. If you have less than R-19 insulation you should consider bringing the insulation level up to a minimum of R-38.
- Consider a radiant barrier in your attic.
Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Unit
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat to automatically raise or lower the temperature according to your daily patterns. You’ll save energy while you’re away or sleeping.
- Replace filters based on manufacturer recommendations, typically every 30 to 90 days.
- Keep exterior doors completely shut when running your HVAC unit. Interior doors should stay open to maximize air flow.
- Windows should remain closed and locked tightly when HVAC sytem is active.
- Service your unit regularly. Schedule a qualified professional one or two times per year.
- Buy a more efficient unit. Look for the ENERGY STAR® seal and a 14 or higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating.
Heating and Cooling Alternatives
- Circulate air with fans. It’s much less expensive to move air around than to cool or heat it. In summer, spin the fan counter-clockwise. In winter, spin it clockwise. (Most fans have a switch at the top to change the direction of the blades.)
- Turn off fans when you leave the room. Remember, fans don’t literally cool or heat a room. They only circulate air. So, when no one is there to appreciate it, fans waste electricity.
- Open windows and doors during the spring and fall seasons. Cool breezes flowing through the screens will keep you comfortable.