Monday, 12 August 2013

Why Heating and Cooling Play a Big Role in Your Energy Cost?

When it comes to heating and cooling our homes and commercial buildings, the simple choices we make everyday can go a long way in helping us protect the environment around the year by cutting costs and managing energy usage efficiently. According to studies, energy is mostly consumed by heating and cooling. In a typical American home, around 56% of energy is used for heating and cooling, which makes it the largest expense. That is why good energy saving habits will help you save precious fossil fuels for the next generation and a good deal of money. To illustrate better, many of us leave the hot water running while shaving. A lot of energy and resources get wasted because you have used a lot of hot water just to rinse out the razor several times. Always make smart decisions when using your air conditioning/heating systems and your home’s other appliances as they contribute to the positive or negative effect in energy bills and your comfort. Increase the working efficiency of your heating and cooling systems by taking these necessary steps.

Run household appliances at off-peak hours

There are special timings during the day when electricity rates are at the lowest. So you can take advantage of that to use household appliances like your clothes washer, dryer and dish washer. This could be at off-peak hours like early in the morning, late evenings or during weekends for lower energy prices. You can also try washing clothes in cold water and air drying them to save on energy costs.

Tune up your HVAC equipment regularly

If you own a car, you will definitely consider tuning it up with regular maintenance and repairs to keep it in top working condition. In the same way, you HVAC equipment needs regular service checks and maintenance to improve its working efficiency and comfort. It can also prevent unwanted costs and future problems. Get in touch with a qualified contractor to undertake annual pre-season service checks to keep your heating and cooling systems at its peak performance levels. Contractors usually get busy during summer and winter, so it’s best to get your systems checked during spring for the hot months and during fall for the cold months. 

Seal your ducts

Forced heating and cooling systems usually have conditioned air flowing to and from your home’s ducts. Improperly sealed ducts are energy wasters as a lot of air is not used for heating and cooling each room in the house properly. Insulating and sealing ducts can improve your home’s energy efficiency by 20% and sometimes even more.  Focus on areas that need more sealing like your crawlspaces, attic, garage and basement. You can wrap them in insulation after sealing them to prevent them from getting too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. 

Reduce energy usage with a programmable thermostat

You can automate your heating and cooling functions with a programmable thermostat. This helps you save big in energy especially when no one is at home during the day or while everyone is asleep.  

Use household appliances properly

Use appliances like the dishwasher and the clothes washer when you have a full load. A half empty washer uses the same amount of energy as a full one. A fridge works more efficiently if it’s not too full. The reverse applies to the freezer as it works best when it two-thirds full. Apply these simple concepts to everyday living that will help you save in the long run. 

Install Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Bulbs

Instead of using traditional lighting fixtures to light up your indoor spaces, replace them with CFL bulbs as they use 75% less power and lasts for upto 10 times longer than normal bulbs. 

Consider caulking and weather stripping

One important thing that delivers a great return during winter and summer is taking time to plug up air leaks around doors and windows. You can look for cracks and apply caulk on immovable building components to prevent air leakage. Weatherstrip is also another method to create a tight seal around movable building components such as doors and operable windows. 

Invest on Energy Star appliances

Fight climate and save energy by investing in energy star products. Switching to it is not only easy on your pocketbook but is also good for the environment. According to research, if one in ten homes used energy star products, then the impact could be compared to planting around 1.7 million acres of trees. Energy Star products use very less energy compared to traditional products. They may cost more but they help you save upto $80 on energy bills every year.

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