Easy Ways to Reduce Heating and Cooling CostsRoss and Witmer
Originally published in June 2013, updated September 2016
Heating and cooling costs account for more than half of most homeowners’ utility spending. With the rising cost of energy, many residents are actively seeking out ways to reduce the consumption of energy to control household expenses. By making a few changes around the house and making a few behavioral changes, Charlotte NC residents are using less energy, and can reduce heating and cooling costs for their homes. Some ways that Charlotte residents are lowering their use of energy are listed below.
7 Tips to Reduce Your Cooling Costs
Maintain Your Air Conditioning System
One of the most important things a homeowner can do for their air conditioning system is to have the unit maintained at least once per year by an HVAC professional. The technician will clean and lubricate parts, inspect components and administer a series of test to check the performance of your equipment.
Clean Your AC Filters
Your air conditioning system depends on the free flow of air to operate properly. Blocked and clogged filters will reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner. In fact, if the filter is excessively clogged, blocking the flow of air, your air conditioner may break down. Remember to install a clean filter at least once per month, especially during the summer months.
Run Your Ceiling Fans in the Right Direction
Ceiling fans can reduce energy usage in both summer and winter. In the summertime, run the ceiling fans in the counter-clockwise mode for maximum effect.
Use Appliances Early in the Morning or Late in the Evening
Appliances, particularly those that emit heat, such as the oven and the dryer, will cause your air conditioner to need to work harder and use more energy to keep your home cool. Make it a habit to use the oven or the dryer only early in the morning or after the sun has gone down. Consider air drying clothes and using the microwave or toaster oven as alternatives.
Use Blinds and Curtains
The sun’s rays will heat the interior of the home through open curtains and blinds. Close the blinds and curtains where the sun shines in during the warmest times of the day. Make sure to close the curtains and blinds when you leave the house.
Turn Up the Temperature
One of the easiest ways to reduce your cooling costs is to simply turn the thermostat up two or three degrees so you and your family will become acclimated to a warmer home.
Use Exhaust Fans
You probably have exhaust fans installed in your bathrooms. Your range likely has an exhaust fan installed over the cooking area. Use exhaust fans when cooking on the range or when taking a shower. Exhaust fans remove the warm, humid air and lighten the load on your air conditioner.
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5 Tips to Reduce Your Heating Costs
Maintain Your Heating System
EnergyStar.gov indicates that neglect and dirt are the top reasons for failure of heating systems. Have your system maintained and cleaned by a professional HVAC technician. Just like your air conditioner, your heating system should be maintained at least once per year.
During the winter, your filter will quickly get dirty. Make sure to change or clean your heating system’s filter at least once every thirty days during the winter.
Run Your Ceiling Fans Clockwise
Set your ceiling fans to run clockwise in the wintertime. This setting forces the warm air back up to the ceiling and down the walls to redistribute the heat.
Weatherize Your Home
Weatherizing your home simply means locating and plugging any leak or hole that allows warm air to escape from your home. Caulk around doors and windows. Use weather stripping to block the air from entering at the door jambs. Weatherizing your home will reduce your cooling and heating costs.
Use Your Fireplace
Many homes have a functional fireplace. Build a fire and turn off the heat a few evenings a week to reduce your heating costs.
How to Conserve Energy Year-Round
Installing a programmable, or “set-back,” thermostat will save money for both heating and cooling your home. A set-back thermostat is a cost-effective way to take control over your home’s heating and cooling. You can program the thermostat to set back to a more energy efficient temperature when the home is empty or during the night when everyone is asleep.
You can set the temperature back to 80 degrees or higher during the summer days when everyone is away to save on air conditioning costs. In the winter, set the temperature back to 67 degrees when everyone is in bed, and then program the thermostat to heat up the home just before everyone wakes up for breakfast.
Inspect, Repair and Clean Ductwork
Both your heating and cooling system rely on your ventilation system to deliver the conditioned air throughout the home. Your ventilation system, including ductwork, vents, registers and connectors, should be inspected by a trained HVAC professional for potential leaks and blockages. If you have a leak in the duct system, as much as 20 percent of your conditioned air is lost.
Have your ductwork inspected and any leaks repaired to reduce your home’s climate control costs. Make sure that all connectors are tight and any blockages are cleared. If your ductwork is dirty or blocked, have your system professionally cleaned by an air duct cleaning specialist.
With just a few changes, you can reduce your cooling and heating costs for your Charlotte home.