Heating and cooling are two huge expenses when it comes to your monthly home bills. Sometimes, the problem may be that your system is simply too old, but in many cases, there are little things you can do to improve your system's efficiency. Check out these five tips.
Don't Keep Doors and Vents Closed
There are probably rooms in your home you don't often use, such as guest rooms. When they aren't being used, they probably don't need heat or cold sent to them. However, unless you have an advanced system with zones, you need to just heat/cool every room in your home. If you close the vents and doors in a room, it may seem like this is a great idea to block air from that room and increase efficiency elsewhere, but that isn't the case. When you do this, pressure builds up in the room, and it pulls air from anywhere it can, such as windows and chimneys. In turn, the system has to actually use more air. In fact, it can increase your consumption from 300 to 900 percent.
Use Your Ceiling Fans Correctly
When it's cold, you probably want nothing to do with your ceiling fan. Having a ceiling fan blow cold air on you while you crank up your furnace seems counterproductive. This is true, if the fan is blowing cold air downward. However, many ceiling fans can be reversed. During the colder months, you can make them spin in the opposite direction. This way, cold air does not blow downward. The advantage to do this is that it circulates air. Hot air rises, but you aren't living on your ceiling, so having warm air up there is useless and makes you have to turn up the heat. Having a ceiling fan run in reverse will push that warm air down into your living space, so you don't have to use as much energy to properly heat your home.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
Your thermostat is a necessary part of your heating and cooling system. It lets you set the temperature. If it's too hot inside the house, lower the temperature. If it's too hot, increase it. However, if you aren't home or you are asleep, you can't adjust the temperature. You may be using more energy than you need. A programmable thermostat lets you set when the temperature should rise or fall or you can simply control it from afar. Some advanced thermostats even let you know how much you're going to be spending if you turn up the air conditioner.
Create Air-Tight Ducts
The air ducts in your home are how the hot or cold air reaches your living spaces. Ideally, every bit of air that escapes your furnace or air conditioner reaches you. Of course, that doesn't always happen. In fact, 20 to 30 percent of that air may be escaping through holes and gaps in your ductwork. With less air reaching you, you don't get the ideal temperature you desire, so you have to use more energy and increase or reduce the temperature. If your ducts have never been checked, it may be best to hire a professional who can reach all your ducts, but for a quick fix, you can use metal tape or mastic sealant to seal easy-to-reach holes and gaps.
Prevent Air From Warming or Cooling in Ducts
Another problem with ducts is the time it takes for air to travel through them. Your furnace heats air and then sends it through ductwork throughout the house. By the time it reaches your living space, that comfortable 70 degrees may have fallen to somewhere in the 60s. Again, this means you have to turn up the heat to reach your level of comfort. Ducts in areas of your home that are heated or cooled should be fine, but if you have ducts running through your garage, attic, crawl space, basement or any other areas that aren't temperature controlled, you should make sure they are insulated.
If you want the best efficiency for your heating and cooling forced-air systems, there are many things you need to do to ensure your system isn't overworked or wasting energy. If you would like to discover more about about heating and cooling, contact an expert in your area today.
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