6 Ways To Save On Heating And Air Conditioning Costs

When looking for ways to cut down on household expenses, don't overlook your HVAC system. Heating and cooling costs are responsible for a large chunk of your energy bill each month, with heating in particular accounting for more than 40% of the average American's energy consumption. Luckily, by being proactive about maintenance and making a few simple tweaks, you can majorly cut down on your HVAC costs year-round. Here are six great ways to do this:

Have Annual HVAC Inspections

Many homeowners make the mistake of avoiding their HVAC company until something goes majorly wrong and a costly repair is needed. Paying for annual inspections is an up-front cost that saves you a great deal of money in the long-run by lowering your energy bills and extending the lifespan of your heating and air conditioning system.

During an annual inspection, the technician will identify and repair any components that are not working as well as they should be and clean and tighten the various mechanical parts. This keeps your HVAC system working as efficiently as possible and allows repairs to be made before they become more serious and expensive.

Make Use of Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are surprisingly useful year-round for keeping your home comfortable while diminishing your need to use so much energy. In the summer, ceiling fans help circulate your air-conditioned air to more effectively cool your home without having to totally blast the AC. In the winter, switching your ceiling fans to a counter-clockwise direction helps to push warm air (which naturally rises) back down into your living space, keeping things toasty and comfortable without wasting heat.

Switch to a Smart Thermostat

A smart thermostat is an innovative and affordable way to save energy. Instead of getting to work and remembering that you forgot to turn down the AC or heat while no one is home, you can program the ideal temperature based on the day and set times. You can also log into your thermostat app and lower the heat or air conditioning any time you want to save energy even when you're away from home.

Change Those Filters

HVAC systems have filters that need to be changed on a regular basis. How often yours should be changed depends on the model (look at your owner's manual for a definitive answer), but once a month or so is generally a good rule of thumb. When the filters are dirty, heaters and air conditioners have to work extra hard to pus dust, pet hair, and other debris through the filter, which makes them work much less efficiently than they should.

Make Sure Your Attic is Well-Insulated

If your attic is under-insulated, both heat and air conditioning can escape through your ceiling instead of staying inside your home and keeping it comfortable. In addition to being a waste of energy that leads to higher utility bills, heat escaping through the attic in the winter can cause ice and snow to melt and then refreeze, forming ice dams that can damage your roof.

According to experts, you should add more insulation if the floor joists in your attic are visible. A professional home improvement company can help determine the ideal amount of insulation for your particular home and also install the insulation for you if you'd rather not do it yourself.

Seal Gaps and Cracks

Small gaps and cracks around windows and doors as well as your exterior walls can allow heat to escape and cold to get in during the winter, and the reverse to happen in the summer. Spend a little time each year inspecting your home for gaps, cracks, and holes, and then fill them in with caulk as needed.

By following these tips, you will reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint while saving your family money at the same time.