6 Steps to an Energy-Efficient Home
There are many elements of your home where energy efficiency is important. Not only does an energy-efficient home save money on your utility bills, it’s environmentally friendly as well. Your HVAC system can use a lot of energy if not optimized. There are several steps you can take to ensure that your home’s internal climate control functions efficiently, so your home stays comfortable and your utility bills remain low.
One of the biggest threats to your home’s energy efficiency is areas where air moves freely between the interior and exterior. Common places are window and door frames, attics and crawlspaces, especially those without proper insulation. Improving your home’s insulation and using caulking and weatherstripping to shore up small cracks can help your home stay comfortable without making your HVAC system work too hard.
2. Upgrade to New Energy-Efficient Units
If your furnace or air conditioning unit is getting close to the end of its lifespan, consider taking the proactive step of upgrading to a new unit. Newer furnace and AC models are far more energy-efficient than older versions. An upgrade could pay for itself in as little as a year with the savings in your monthly utility bills. You may even qualify for a tax rebate when purchasing certain energy-efficient units.
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is another smart addition to your HVAC infrastructure. It allows you to set a schedule for your HVAC system, so it doesn’t waste energy heating and cooling your house when you aren’t there. Most thermostats allow you to set different weekend and weekday schedules, as well as different settings for nighttime.
4. Be Proactive About Routine Maintenance
Scheduling an annual inspection and tune up for your HVAC equipment is a wise proactive step. It allows you to find and fix any minor issues before they cause damage to your system. Additionally, a technician will ensure that all your settings are optimized for the most efficient operation. A tune up can help your HVAC equipment perform better and use less energy.
5. Have the Ducts Cleaned
Hiring heating and cooling experts to clean your ductwork has many benefits. Clean ducts improve airflow, reducing the load on your furnace and AC unit. This lowers the risk of HVAC problems due to overuse. Additionally, it ensures clean, fresh air with less dust and fewer allergens. Clean ducts don’t contaminate your indoor air with musty odors.
6. Use Additional Methods to Supplement the HVAC System
Another way to reduce the strain on your HVAC system and lower your utility bills is to supplement your system. For example, installing window blinds or blackout shades reduces the amount of heat that gets through your windows in the summer, so your AC unit isn’t running constantly. In winter, you could turn down the furnace to a lower temperature at night and use small space heaters in bedrooms to compensate. Even small actions can reduce the amount of time your HVAC system runs.
Keeping your home energy-efficient is a worthy goal. Improving your home’s efficiency lowers your utility bills and is eco-friendly. Small steps such as installing window shades and a programmable thermostat can reduce the load on your HVAC system. For a larger improvement, consider having your ducts professionally cleaned or upgrading your HVAC system to newer energy-efficient equipment.