We all rely on electricity to power everyday life, and understandably, some devices consume more energy than others. But you’d be surprised by the amount of energy it takes to keep our homes comfortable. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the top two energy consumers in homes are heating and cooling. In fact, HVAC systems account for more than half of the average home’s energy consumption.
Thankfully, there are ways to lower your heating and cooling energy use. Here are a few tips for improving your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system:
1. Set Optimal Temperature
Set your thermostat to a higher temperature (e.g., around 78-80ºF) when you’re at home and a few degrees higher when you’re away. This reduces the workload on the system and, in turn, will help to lower your electricity bill. I know… you are thinking, “Don’t invite me to your terrarium, you lizard!” Ha!Ha! I am in agreement with you, but during these 100º+ days, 78º inside is actually pretty comfortable!
2. Seal your home
Your home’s climate control systems use more energy to keep a room at your desired temperature if there is hot or cold air flowing from the outdoors. One of the easiest ways to improve heating and cooling efficiency is to insulate your home and keep air from flowing in or out.
For starters, keep all exterior doors closed when the heater or air conditioner is at work. If possible, close the curtains as well: exposed windows also affect internal temperatures. Using blackout curtains or liners will give extra insulation against the heat and help lower your home’s electricity bill as well.
3. Use Fans Strategically
Use ceiling fans to help distribute cool air more effectively. Fans create a wind-chill effect that makes you feel cooler even at a slightly higher temperature. Ceiling fans also do not use nearly as much electricity; therefore, it will help lower that electricity bill a bit.
4. Shut Unused Rooms
Close doors to rooms that aren’t in use to concentrate the cooling in the areas you’re actually occupying. This is a great tip for those empty nesters out there. Close those extra bedroom doors!
5. Plant Shade Trees
This tip won’t help us immediately, but it’s something to think about as Fall approaches. If possible, plant trees strategically around your home to provide natural shade, which can significantly reduce indoor temperatures.
Heating and cooling systems, just like any machine, will eventually break down. These tips will prolong your HVAC system’s lifespan and improve its efficiency. Regular maintenance also goes a long way in reducing your home’s electricity bill.