Energy-Saving Heating and Cooling Ideas for Your Home

March 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Energy Efficiency

Most people would make their home’s heating or cooling system more energy efficient if they knew what it entailed. It’s not as hard as you might think, and doesn’t have to involve buying a whole new air conditioning system or furnace. You can go green at home with just routine maintenance and little changes like installing programmable thermostats, sealing heating ducts, and changing air filters. These aren’t just good ideas but also wise investments that can pay off in energy savings that are evident in lowered utility bills.

The first step in energy-saving routine maintenance for your heating and cooling (HVAC) system is to hire an HVAC specialist to do an annual check-up. Though it might sound like a costly idea, by preventing a problem and extending the lifetime of your existing furnace and/or air conditioner, you can receive a large return on the investment. Make sure that you get a certified technician to check all components of your furnace, including the fuel connections, blower, heat exchanger, and combustion. Confirm that everything is in good working order. A complete check should also include monitoring the air conditioner’s refrigerant and conditioning coils, as well as checking all thermostat settings.

Another great investment into energy savings and reduced heating and cooling costs for your home is a programmable thermostat. This is especially helpful if your house is empty for long periods during the day. A programmable thermostat allows you to keep the heat off when no one is using it, and you can program it so that it comes back on long enough before anyone arrives home to reach a comfortable temperature. That way no energy is wasted to heat or cool a vacant house.

It is well worth the time and effort to seal heating ducts, particularly if there are long lengths that snake through your basement, attic, or storage spaces. Unsealed joints on the sheet metal can unknowingly be leaking vast amounts of cold or hot air. Sealing or wrapping all of the joints is an easy way to make your heating/cooling system more energy efficient.

One of the easiest and often overlooked ways to maintain an energy efficient system is to routinely change your air filter. It is recommended by most manufacturers that you change them every three months or so at a minimum. This easy task keeps dust out of your system and improves the quality of your air flow. Unlike outdoor air, indoor air is recycled over and over. Considering the fact that most people spend around 90% of their time indoors, it is well worth it do everything you can to keep your indoor air healthy and clean. When you change your air filter you not only clean up your air, but improve the energy efficiency of your system, and ultimately save on your energy bills.

All of these going green ideas are easy, inexpensive, and effective. Try all of them and you will be not only contributing to a safer, cleaner environment, but also saving money on significantly lower utility bills. It’s a win-win strategy that results in less wasted energy, more money, and sustainable living for everyone.