Heating and cooling systems comprise about 60% of the average home’s energy consumption. That’s why it’s so important to maintain this equipment properly—and invest in a replacement system when your heating or cooling unit has reached the end of its life span. But it also makes sense to look beyond your HVAC systems and find other ways to conserve energy.
In fact, with a little planning and some simple changes around the house, you can lower your energy output and expenses. Here are some cost-effective ways to help you save energy.
Investing in a smart programmable thermostat is a wise move. When used correctly, it will pay for itself in just a short time. If you choose a Wi-Fi thermostat, you can control your home’s temperature from your smartphone.
In the spring and summer, the U.S. Energy Department recommends setting your central air conditioning system to 78°F when you’re at home. Program your A/C system to shut off 20-30 minutes before you leave home each day; return the temperature setting to normal comfort levels 20 to 30 minutes before you come home.
In the winter, the optimal setting is 68°F when you’re at home. Dial it down toward the 60°F range when you’re asleep or out of the house. The temperatures you ultimately choose will depend on factors like the outdoor temperature and your family’s comfort preferences. Remember, these are just guidelines.
Now that outdoor temperatures are tolerable, it’s a good time to caulk any air leaks around exterior doors and windows that might have widened over the winter. While you’re at it, try replacing door weatherstripping that might have worn away.
In terms of insulation, most homes are under-insulated. Adding enough to meet recommended R-values is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your home’s overall efficiency and comfort. Read the Energy Department’s Guide to Home Insulation.
If you have a forced-air system (one with vents rather than radiators or baseboards), the most important self-maintenance task you have is to check your air filters regularly, cleaning or changing them when needed. Clogged filters rob your furnace of efficiency by making it overwork to keep you warm; that means higher heating bills and more wear and tear on your equipment. The same principle applies if you have a central air conditioning system in your home.
During the cold months, keep curtains and shades open in sun-exposed rooms to absorb all that free heat and energy during the day, then close them at night to keep it in at night. Do the reverse in the summer by closing curtains and shades during the day to block solar heat. Smart window treatments can help manage solar energy throughout the year.
An open fireplace damper is like an open window; close it when you are not using your hearth. Move any furniture, drapery or rugs away from air vents, baseboards, or radiators. This helps improve airflow and keeps heat circulating into rooms.
To learn about how you can positively impact your home’s energy efficiency through upgrades to systems like heating oil boilers and heating oil furnaces, please visit our website.