by Karin Mangan |
As winter approaches, now is time to make sure your heating system is functioning effectively and efficiently. Smart decisions about your HVAC system can lead to lower utility bills--and that is more important than ever in light of the high price of gas, electricity, and oil.
A few simple steps can make a big difference to the energy efficiency of your heating system and your home:
- Get an annual HVAC inspection to maintain your system and keep it running efficiently and safely.
- Change the filter in your heating system at least every three month--monthly during heavy use--to keep it running efficiently.
- Install a programmable thermostat and set it to a slightly lower temperature.
- Lower the temperature of your water heater--that can save you up to 10% on your annual energy bill.
- Check the air-tightness of your home or request a home energy audit from your local utility company or a certified HVAC technician and eliminate leaks and drafts.
- Make sure you have adequate insulation--inadequate insulation is the leading cause of energy waste in our homes.
- Use your blinds or drapes to let sunshine in during the day and keep the cold out at night.
- Finally, it may be worth investing in a new HVAC unit--if you plan to stay in your current home for at least five years, you can expect to get your money back in terms of savings in energy efficiency and repairs. Make sure you install the right size equipment for your home.
If you are still struggling after taking these measures, remember there are public programs to help people cope with the rise in energy costs, so you may be able to get help paying your utility bills.