Keeping the cost of heating and cooling your home in line with your budget leaves more money in your pocket and may extend the life of your HVAC equipment. The U.S. Department of Energy estimated that homeowners spent half their energy bills on heating and cooling in the past, but these tips will cut that amount.
Keep the Air Filter Clean
Nothing lowers your heating and cooling costs faster and more effectively than keeping the air filter for the air handler clean. The dust that accumulates on the filter blocks some of the air blowing through it, which increases the time it takes for your HVAC system to heat or cool the home. Dirty filters also promote premature wear and tear on the components inside the air handler or blower compartment. As dust builds on the filter, some of it lands on the components inside the HVAC system. Excessive dust acts as insulation that holds heat on motors, heat exchanger, evaporator coil and electric switches.
Have the Unit Professionally Serviced
During the winter and summer, your HVAC system is one of your homes hardest working appliances. A professional HVAC technician should inspect your system at least once a year. They will clean and adjust all the parts and make sure that the refrigerant levels are within the range the manufacturer specifies. If your system is still under warranty, the manufacturer may require proof of maintenance to keep the warranty valid.
Manage the Humidity
Whether it’s winter or summer, the humidity level in your home influences how you perceive the temperature. Ideal humidity levels range from 30 to 50 percent year-round. Keeping it within those ranges increases home comfort and your health. Too little humidity in the winter makes your home feel cooler while too much in the summer makes it warmer. It’s easy to add humidity during the heating season by not using the ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathrooms when bathing or cooking. In the summer your air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier because it condenses water vapor in the air on the cooling coils.
Deal with the Windows
Single pane windows offer virtually no protection against heat transfer. If your budget supports it, consider upgrading the windows to Energy Star or thermal-rated windows. Alternatives to new windows include insulated drapes or curtains that cover not only the glass surface, but extended over-the-top and below the window bases. Removable shade screens will keep up to 90 percent of the radiant heat from the sun out of windows that receive direct sunlight.
Besides lowering your energy costs, implementing these tips may leave you with a healthier home. Clean filters and a well-maintained HVAC system, along with and ideal humidity levels, promote a healthier indoor environment.
About the Author
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; @Facebook
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