Heating & Cooling Energy Tips

Introduction

Your heating & cooling systems use up more energy costs than any other utility in your house. This could account for up to 44% of your utility bill! No matter what system you use to control the temperature in your home, regular maintenance and even equipment upgrades can lower these costs by optimizing system functionality and ensuring it is running efficiently. This, combined with a whole-house approach that includes energy efficient windows and proper insulation, can help you save money in costs that would otherwise be tied up in keeping your home comfortable.

If you are looking for ways to save energy and cut cooling/heating costs, take a look at these helpful tips.

Heating Tips for saving money

  • Clean or replace filters (once a month)
  • Close an unoccupied room’s door to avoid making your system work harder than it needs to
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators and make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
  • Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans sparingly to avoid ventilating comfortable air
  • Keep draperies and shades open on south-facing windows, allow sunlight to enter your home
  • Set your thermostat as low as possible


Electrical heating gets expensive, but increasingly popular heat pump technology that runs off electricity is one of the most efficient ways to moderate your home temperature in more moderate climates.

Oil & Gas

Oil/gas systems are rated for efficiency with an annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Number (AFUE). According to Title 24, the minimum AFUE for furnace systems now sold in California is 0.78, meaning 78% of the fuel utilized actually circulates your home duct work as heat.

The higher the Efficiency Number, the better your system performs. AFUE numbers in modern furnaces range from 0.78 to around 0.90. If you are considering purchasing a new furnace, we recommend you review out Appliance database for more energy efficient systems.

Furnace Tips – 

  • Ensure registers, vents or heating units aren’t covered/blocked by home furniture or window blinds
  • Programmable thermostats can save up to 10% a year on cooling/heating costs
  • Pre scheduling your thermostat to turn your comfort systems on only when you need it. This allows you to not operate the equipment as much and save on unnecessary energy costs. Look for the Energy Star label when purchasing your new thermostat.


Air Conditioning

Buying an air conditioning unit manufactured for larger rooms might not necessarily be the solution during those hot summer months. It may surprise you to hear that a larger air conditioner for the improper room size would run less efficiently than properly sized units. This can be explained by the fact that room units perform better when they run for longer periods of time, as opposed to being switched on and off. Running room units longer can allow for a more constant room temperature, and allows them to remove large amounts of moisture from the air that will also lower humidity. All of this will help you feel more comfortable!

Seasonal Energy Efficiency rating, or SEER, rates efficiency during the cooling season. Look for a rating of 13 or more for optimal performance.

Evaporative Coolers

Alternative cooling systems include equipment like Evapotative coolers. These may be installed and perform most effectively in climates with dry air. These systems provide mechanical cooling to buildings, either directly contacting the air with water or a combination of heat exchanging to pre-cool the air and a second step with direct air contact with water.

Cooling Tips

  • Whole-home fans can assist in cooling your home by sucking cool air through the house and exhausting warm air out the attic. They are great when operated at night and when the outdoor temperature is cooler than indoors.
  • Setting your cooling systems as high as comfortably possible in the summer will help save on cooling costs especially when it is set as closely as possible to the outdoor temperature
  • Unnecessary expenses can be accrued when setting your thermostat at a colder temperature setting than normal when you turn your AC on. Your home will not be cooled any faster!
  • High fan speed is helpful except in very humid weather. Humid weather means a low fan setting would perform the best and give you better cooling.
  • Ceiling fans help spread cool air throughout your home
  • Avoid placing lamps, Tv sets or other heat-spreading devices by your AC
  • Trees/shrubs can help shade your Air conditioner outside and assist in its performance and efficiency