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Conserve Energy: Tips For Heating Your Home

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Tips For Heating Your Home

It’s the time of the year when temperatures start to drop, and we all start to prepare for the imminent return of colder weather and all that comes with it.

Among the many concerns that the season brings – what to get your significant other for Christmas, where to spend the holidays, and how to keep from gaining a few pounds with all the seasonal goodies you’ll be eating – many of us are turning our thoughts toward home – how to conserve energy and save money on that heating bill while still keeping your dwelling comfortable. Settle down with a cup of hot chocolate, and check out these tips for greener, more efficient home heating (and cooling, when it’s in season).

PG&E Bill

Photo by Brian Kusler

Conserve Energy Tip #1 – Give Your HVAC Unit Some TLC

If you can’t remember the last time you had your HVAC unit checked, then it’s more than likely overdue for a tune-up. You should have your HVAC unit serviced annually. A clean unit is a more efficient (and safer!) unit. A competent HVAC professional can also spot weak or broken parts that may eventually result in higher energy consumption and pricier electric or gas bills.

If your unit is old, it will save you energy and money to have it replaced with a newer, more efficient model. Check with your HVAC professional for other forms of regular maintenance that need to be performed on your heating and cooling system.

Conserve Energy Tip #2 – Install the HVAC SmartChip

The HVAC Smart Chip study commissioned by the California Energy Commission (CEC), conducted by Pacific Gas and Electric. It shows that simple changes to the way your HVAC fan works can increase the energy efficiency in your heating. And air conditioning system up to 29% with an average just under 15%.

The HVAC Smart Chip Controller can be installed in a matter of minutes by your HVAC technical and will pay for itself in approximately 12 months and continue to save money on heating and cooling costs year after year.

Conserve Energy Tip #3 – Change Your Filters

In addition to having the unit checked by a professional, be sure to change the air filters regularly. A dirty filter will affect your heating and cooling efficiency, damage your HVAC unit over time and fill your air with stuff you don’t want to be breathing. The filter should be changed every 30 to 90 days – more frequently if you have pets, a lot of dust, or have been running the HVAC unit more than normal.

Very dirty air filter.

Photo by Ivy Dawned

Conserve Energy Tip #4 – Check Your Insulation

You can have the world’s most efficient HVAC system and still waste a lot of energy if your home is poorly insulated.

Your attic, walls, floors and even pipes and ductwork should be properly insulated in order to ensure that you aren’t losing heat to the great outdoors. An insulation professional can check your insulation and advise you on whether it needs to be replaced.

Windows are also common culprits when it comes to losing heat; a double or even triple pane window will help to reduce heat loss.

Insulating straw bale home.

Photo by Brett and Sue Coulstock

Conserve Energy Tip #5 – Get to Know Your Own System

Sometimes the difference between high energy usage and low energy usage is in the details. Get to know your home’s individual quirks. Identify which rooms in your home are predispositioned to be hot or cold and adjust your vents accordingly; when heating, close vents in rooms that are already warm. When cooling, close vents in the cooler rooms. Check out LifeHacker’s advice for some more tips and tricks.

Featured images:

Josh Moran considers energy savings an essential ingredient when it comes to reducing his power bill. He works with Tom’s Mechanical, an HVAC company in Arlington, TX.

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