Seasonal Tips from the Experts
Winter Season Tips
- Install storm or thermal windows and doors.
- Caulk and weather-strip all windows and doors.
- Tape and seal leaks in your duct system and coil enclosure. Consider adding insulation to your duct system.
- Wrap your water heater with an insulated water heater blanket.
- Seal gaps between heated and unheated spaces. Consider installing ceiling fans with reversible motors. In the winter, fans push warm air that collects at ceiling level back down into the room.
- Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat; it is a great way to control the temperature in your home for maximum energy efficiency.
- Install adequate insulation. Recommended: R-30 in ceilings, R-13 in exterior walls and R-11 in interior walls and floors.
- If you are in the market for a new home comfort system, select a high-efficiency, variable-speed heating and air conditioning system. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating indicates the efficiency of a gas furnace. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace. If your present furnace is ten years old or older, it is probably in the 60 to 70 percent AFUE range. That means you are wasting about 30 to 40 cents out of every dollar you spend for heat. By replacing your old furnace with a new, high-efficiency model with an AFUE of 80 or 90 percent, more of the fuel you pay for is turned into heat.
- Close shutters and drapes during winter nights.
- Set your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower during the day.
- When using your fireplace, turn your thermostat down.
- Keep the damper closed when your fireplace is not being used.
- Dust or vacuum the vents in your home to ensure the free flow of warm air.
- Clean or replace the filter in your furnace at least once every 30 days during peak winter usage.
Summer Season Tips
- Before summer begins, have your homes air conditioning system cleaned and checked.
- Invest in a good quality, pleated air filter designed to capture more dust and debris and clean it frequently, at least every 30 days.
- Add insulation to your attic and weatherproof your house by covering all exposed windows and by weather-stripping all doors and windows.
- Keep programmable thermostats at 78 degrees (F) or higher when not at home (for each degree you raise the thermostat above 78 degrees, you save up to five percent on cooling costs). If you do not have a programmable thermostat, consider purchasing one. It is worth the investment.
- Dust or vacuum the vents in your home often to ensure the free flow of cool air.
- Routinely replacing or cleaning the filters will help your air conditioner operate smoothly. Clogged or dirty filters block normal airflow and can reduce a system's efficiency over time. In addition, take a walk around your yard. If trees or other plants shade your home, make sure that leaves and sticks are regularly cleared away from your air conditioner.
Year Round Energy Savings Tips
- Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counter-clockwise direction In the summer; in the winter, run it at low speed, but clockwise.
- Close your exterior doors and windows tightly when the AC is on. Save even more by turning off kitchen and bath exhaust fans.
- Change or clean your AC's air filters at least once a month to keep your system running at peak performance.
- Make sure your AC has a rating – or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) – of 15. Not only will your AC be more efficient, you could also be eligible for a rebate up to $300.
- Make saving automatic: Set your thermostat fan switch to "auto" to save energy. Leaving it in the "on" position keeps air running constantly.
- Block the sun from overheating your home! Inside, use shades, blinds and drapes. Outside, use awnings, trees and shrubs.
- Insulate your walls with injected foam insulation to help you save energy by keeping hot outside air from seeping through porous block walls – check with your local building supply company for details.
- Give your AC tune-up. Running an inefficient AC system can result in high monthly bills. Plus, you could qualify for a rebate.
- Open interior doors so that cooled air flows freely throughout your home.
- Repair leaky ducts to reduce heating and cooling costs and qualify for a rebate up to $120 toward repairs.
- Install attic insulation rated R-30 and sealing any attic leaks to reduce high home cooling costs. You’ll save money each month and qualify for a rebate of $75 or more.
- Check for household leaks to make sure air isn't escaping through openings such as fireplace dampers, doors and windows.
- Decorate for a cooler home by hanging light-colored curtains that allow light to enter a room while blocking some of the sun’s rays, and light-colored paint to reflect heat.
- Close unused air vents. If you have central AC you can close air vent in rooms you're not using so you're not paying to cool them.
- Plant trees to provide shade on the sunny side of your home.
- Use ceiling fans to cool off for less. Ceiling fans use no more electricity than a standard light bulb. However, be sure to turn fans off when you leave — they only cool people, not rooms.
- Install more ceiling fans. Because the breeze of a fan can make you feel three to four degrees cooler, you can raise that thermostat and still stay comfortable.
- Raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees to save on your cooling costs.
- Install a programmable thermostat to adjust your temperature during the day.
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