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Efficient Cooling and Heating Tips

Posted on Sunday, October 23 2011

Upgrading your central cooling and heating system to a newer, more efficient system is a great way to save on electricity. Numerous federal tax credits exist to help you pay for such an upgrade.

However, what can you do if an upgrade isn’t in your budget right now? Following the simple (and inexpensive) tips below will help you to start seeing savings on your next bill.

Change your air filter regularly

It’s no surprise that a dirty air filter will cause a greater strain on your HVAC system. Trying to pull air through a filter that’s super blocked up requires more electricity. Protip: You can buy your filters in multi-packs at your local Home Depot, Lowes, Sam’s Club, BJ’s or Costco. Write the desired date of change on each filter to create a regular schedule (no more than 3 months between changes). Some homes require a change every 30 days — inspect your filter regularly and never run your system without a filter.

Tune up your heating and cooling equipment annually

This includes vacuuming ducts, among other things. Check with your local air conditioning specialist — it’s less expensive than you might think. Protip: Call 4 or 5 specialists and let them bid for your business.

Install a programmable thermostat

This is a big one. You can find a programmable thermostat very inexpensively at your local hardware store or online marketplaces such as Amazon. Protip: Set your thermostat to shut off for a few hours while you’re sleeping or at work and watch the savings add up.

Seal your cooling or heating ducts

If you’ve never seen your cooling and heating ducts or recently moved into your home, you might be surprised how much of your precious conditioned air is leaking into your attic — and out into the world. For the adventurous types, you can seal them yourself (assuming you don’t mind crawling around in your attic). Be sure to check all flanges (the part where the duct meets your ceiling vents). For the less adventurous types, call a professional. Protip: Be careful where you walk while up in your attic — only step on well-supported beams to avoid costly damage to your ceiling.

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