When you add up what you spend annually on heating and cooling costs, the numbers can be staggering. Heating accounts for about 42% of your utility bill, according to Energy.gov.1 In the U.S., homeowners spend a total of about $29 billion on air conditioning.2 Everything from usage to appliance maintenance, to the condition of your ductwork affect what you spend. Believe it or not, you can save on your energy bill in simple ways; here are a few practical examples:
1. Repair Ductwork
Leaky ducts can lose up to 30% of the air that circulates in your home. This reduces efficiency by forcing the HVAC system to work harder to maintain comfort, if it can at all. These ducts may be in places you rarely go, like the crawl space or attic. To address the problem, have a professional perform an assessment and complete duct sealing where needed. It also helps to insulate ducts in uninhabited spaces to reduce leakage and contamination.
2. Tankless Water Heaters
Traditional water heaters waste a lot of energy warming up to 50 gallons of water. A tankless water heater starts heating water as soon as you turn on the faucet—and turns off afterward. This saves from 30% to 50% of the energy you’d use otherwise (potentially saving $100 or more per year). Plus, these on-demand units are small enough to mount on a wall in a closet or utility room.
3. Monitor Water Heater Temp
This doesn’t require making any purchases or investments. Water heaters are typically set to 140°F but for most purposes this isn’t necessary. By lowering the temperature to 120°F, you can spend 10% less on water heating. Also feel your water heater; if it’s warm when you touch it, heat is being lost, but this can be fixed by wrapping the unit with an insulating blanket.
4. Air Leak Testing
The best way to start sealing your home is to test it for air leaks. Contact your local HVAC services company to see if they can help, or you can feel for window drafts yourself during a cold, windy day. Other DIY methods include using a temperature sensor to check for cold spots or placing a stick of incense near potential draft points.
5. Keep up With Furnace Filter Changing
Furnaces use lots of energy to begin with. A dirty or clogged filter causes them to use even more. Your furnace will work much less hard if you change the filter in three-month intervals, or as often as the manufacturer recommends. Running a furnace with a clean filter can cut energy use up to 15%, while a new filter costs roughly $20. Periodic inspections also help, as they can spot problems that prompt furnace repair, which can further improve efficiency.
6. Consider Ductless Systems
Ductless systems, such as a ductless air conditioner or mini split heat pump, avoid issues with air loss in ducts. They also use inverter-driven compressors. The system can therefore run at different speeds and be adjusted based on interior conditions. It also doesn’t waste energy starting up like traditional compressors. Plus, a ductless heat pump or air conditioner is installed for the individual room or area served, so you can heat/cool only those used without reducing efficiency.
7. Regular Maintenance on Your HVAC System
Routine maintenance such as filter changes, refrigerant recharges, lubrication, and tune-ups help appliances run more efficiently. It can also prevent damage and breakdowns and the costs associated with addressing them. Maintenance can even prolong the life of air conditioners, furnaces, and other appliances, so AC or furnace replacement can be put off.
8. Try a Geothermal Heat Pump
Geothermal technology moves heat into and out of your home as needed, instead of creating warm air. A geothermal heat pump system may source heat from outside air or underground, or both. Although these systems cost more, you can recoup the costs in about 5 to 10 years. Heat pump components can last as long as a quarter-century, which is a bonus considering the life expectancy of many traditional HVAC parts and systems.
9. Install a More Effective Thermostat
A two-stage thermostat, which can be set back at night, can help you save when using a two-stage furnace. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature lower when you go out, on vacation, or to sleep for the night. You save energy and don’t have to remember to make adjustments every time.
10. Test Your Energy Efficiency
Schedule an energy audit during which a professional will do a blower-door test. This can determine whether your windows are the source of air leaks. A general audit can determine how much energy you are using, losing, and can save by conducting a room-by-room examination. Infrared cameras and tracer gas may be used to identify trouble spots to fix.
Contact Sky Heating
Sky Heating & Air Conditioning is committed to quality HVAC services and helping you save. Whether you require HVAC repair, furnace replacement, heat pump installation, or duct sealing, we can help meet your needs and goals. Our team is familiar with all the ways you can save, and can offer suggestions by thoroughly evaluating your home’s energy usage. We also provide maintenance plans, special offers, and flexible HVAC financing to work with your budget. Contact us/schedule an appointment online or call 503-235-9083 for assistance.