Everyone thinks first “new windows”, but unless you live in a glass house, most of your home’s square footage is comprised of walls – not windows. Though replacing old/damaged windows with higher efficiency windows is a good idea, it can also be extremely costly in comparison to your savings. Re-insulating your walls can cost significantly less and be more effective – saving you more money and paying for itself more quickly. Even if you have a newer home, the fiberglass insulation installed in most homes upon construction, over time will begin to sag. The area above the insulation is where the heat that you pay for escapes and the chill begins. Gaps in the insulation, improperly insulated walls, block basements, crawl spaces, attics, etc. are all places where the environment you pay so much to create inside of your home begins to deteriorate. Connect with a professional regarding having thermal imaging done on your home or business to determine whether re-insulating would be your best option for energy cost savings.
Take these steps to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. For more information, see our Guide to Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling (708KB).
Change your air filter regularly
Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer).
If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow air flow down making the system work harder (draw more energy) to keep you warm or cool — wasting your money! A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — which, over time, can lead to expensive maintenance and/or even early system failure.
Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly
Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort. Learn more:
Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment
If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by nearly $200. But
before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your HVAC
Seal your heating and cooling ducts
Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often huge energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent — sometimes much more.
Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house. See our See our Duct Sealing brochure (1.13MB) for more information. for more information.
Ask about Proper Installation of your new equipment
Replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with new, energy-efficient models is a great start. But to make sure that you get the best performance, the new equipment must be properly installed. In fact, improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30 percent — costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment’s life. Learn more.
*The above information was taken from the Energy Star website