Whether it’s winter or summer, maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home is important—and so is keeping your costs under control. In order to keep a good balance between comfort and cost, avoid these common mistakes that make energy bills balloon.
Chimney Not Closed
If your home has a chimney, it’s important to make sure it’s well-choked when not in use. If not, the air that you’re paying to heat or cool can easily float out among the rooftops, leading to lower efficiency and higher costs.
Windows Poorly Sealed
Few people think of their windows as part of their HVAC system, but in a manner of speaking, they are! Any opportunity for air to leak outside, such as old and drafty windows, needs to be addressed if you want to keep costs to a minimum.
Poor HVAC Maintenance
Your A/C and furnace are complex appliances. They need regular maintenance in order to function well. If you wait until something goes wrong, the problem might already be expensive. Preventative maintenance, carried out by a professional, is easy and inexpensive.
HVAC Systems Not Energy Efficient
Air conditioners and furnaces have come a long way in the last two decades. Many of the newest A/C and furnace models make significant strides in energy efficiency, with gains of 20% or more. This leads to lower monthly costs. It may be impressive that your ancient appliance is still kicking, but it’s worth asking: How much is it costing you monthly?
Attic Poorly Insulated
An attic with proper insulation will be hot in the Summer and cold in the winter. Insulation is what keeps this area of your home separate from the rooms you actually use. If the attic hasn’t been well-insulated, your heating and cooling efforts can leak into the attic, while unwanted hot or cold air can leak out of the attic into your home.
Thermostat Left On
Forgetting to turn the thermostat up, down or off (depending on the season and the situation) can lead to your HVAC system performing hours of work that no one is around to appreciate. Many people are switching to programmable and smart thermostats that allow greater control over their home’s temperature, even when nobody is at home.
Hot Water Heater Turned Up Too High
Piping hot water is a nice idea, but most of us end up mixing it with cool water in order to find the right temperature. The problem here is that it costs money to keep scalding hot water on tap. Adjusting your hot water heater to, say, 120 degrees instead of 140 degrees can actually result in a significant cost savings over the course of the year. If you’re going on vacation for a while, definitely consider turning the hot water heater off completely. This could help pay for your plane tickets.
Getting the Most Out of your HVAC System
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that around 65% of all energy consumed by Americans is for heating, cooling and hot water. These numbers have been decreasing for the last decade as appliances become more efficient and people become more energy conscious—but there’s still a long way to go. Give your wallet (and the planet) a break this year by avoiding these common mistakes!
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