Baby, it’s cold outside — but home heating makes up the lion’s share of household energy use. Beat winter’s chill and lower bills with these tips:
  • Change filters regularly. Clogged air filters reduce airflow and make heating and cooling systems work longer and harder, consuming more energy and causing premature wear. Check system manuals, and change disposable filters regularly to keep air flowing freely. Clean filters mean less housework, too. Changed once a month, disposable filters clean the air of dirt, mold spores and pollen before it settles as dust on household surfaces.
  • Keep compressors free and clear. Central air conditioning and heat pump systems rely on outdoor compressor units to exchange hot air for cold. To do the job, these units need unobstructed surroundings. Each spring and fall, check the area around compressors for obstructions. Prune or trim any encroaching shrubs or plants. Remove leaves and debris from the sides and base of the unit. Make sure compressors are free to breathe!
  • Schedule service calls early. Heating and air conditioning systems require regular professional maintenance. Don’t wait for the first chilly night or hot day. Schedule tune-ups before the weather changes. You’ll have the service technician’s full attention if he’s not hopping to respond to emergency calls after the first hard freeze. Seasonal visits from maintenance technicians will keep furnaces tuned — and spot any costly problems early, while they’re easy to repair.
  • Ask for advice. While he’s on the premises, ask the service technician for advice about your heating and cooling systems. Most techs love talking about their job, and are happy to give pointers on how to keep your unit running efficiently.
  • Cover up to stay cozy. Stop heat loss through windows by closing drapes, shades, or blinds when possible. A rolled towel, or custom-made “draft dodger” blocks cold air from beneath doors when snuggled up against the door jamb.
  • Fine-tune thermostats. If your household has a programmable thermostat, turn down the heat at night, or when the family is out during the day, then raise the thermostat settings for the morning and evening hours. Similarly, avoid the turn-it-up, turn-it-down habit. Juggling and jiggling thermostat temperatures can cause energy-gobbling secondary heating systems to kick in-and their high-energy cost will kick you in the wallet. Try to keep thermostat temperatures steady for best comfort and energy savings.
  • Maintain air filtration systems. Many newer homes feature in-house air filtration systems, while other families use portable air-filter systems to improve indoor air quality. Well-maintained units remove pollens and particulates from the air. Clogged filters or dirty collection plates, however, force filters to work longer and harder. Check the manuals on how to maintain your household’s air filtration systems, and change or clean filters as required.

Content Source: