Operating a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system — also known as an HVAC system — can be expensive. In fact, the electric bill, which operating an HVAC systems contributes to, is one of the most expensive bills homeowners have to shoulder, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fortunately, there are things you can to do to save on HVAC expenses and keep more money in your bank account. Here are a few to consider.
1. Have Preventative Maintenance Done in the Winter
Although some people may wait until the middle or end of spring to have preventative maintenance performed on their HVAC for summer, why not get it done way ahead of time — like during the winter months? Think about it. You won’t have to wait for an appointment like you would if you waited until the spring when other people are doing it — or deal with the summer rush when people are experiencing problems with their home AC units. Preventative maintenance is a way to save money because it can prevent those problems that can cause expensive repairs.
2. Operate Your Unit at a Lower or Higher Temperature for at Least 8 Hours a Day
According to the energy.gov website, you should operate your HVAC unit 7 to 10 degrees lower or higher than you normally do for about eight hours a day to save money on your electricity bill. For example, in the summer if you keep your thermostat at 76 when you’re at home, consider setting it at 82 while you’re away at work. And in the winter, if you keep the thermostat at 68, consider setting it closer to 60 when you’re away for hours during the daytime.
3. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
Although might think operating your unit at a higher temperature of 82 during the day will cause you to be uncomfortable because when you arrive home, you’ll have to set the thermostat at a lower temperature and wait for your house to cool down. But with a programmable thermostat, you don’t have to worry about waiting. You can set it to turn down before you get home, so your home will be at a comfortable temperature when you get there. Think of it as a set-it-and-forget-it solution that will help you save money.
4. Consider Insulating the Attic of Your Home
If the attic of your home is not insulated, that could be the reason you’re experiencing uneven temperatures throughout your home, drafty rooms or high heating or cooling bills. Consider insulating the attic to help save money. If you’re a do-it-yourself type of person, this is a project that is moderately DIY friendly, according to energystar.gov.
5. Change Air Filters Regularly
Air filters are not only used to filter out dust and pollen, but they also catch larger particles that, if allowed, would serve to clog your HVAC system. It’s important to change out your HVAC system’s air filters regularly. After all, if the air filter you’re using becomes full of gunk, it won’t be able to work properly and can actually restrict air flow and result in higher energy costs. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding how often you should your HVAC unit’s air filter, and set a reminder for yourself so you won’t forget.
6. Use Window Coverings
When it’s a beautiful day outside, it’s tempting to pull back the curtains and draw up the blinds to let the sunshine in. But doing so in hot weather conditions can cause your HVAC unit to work harder and waste energy. If you don’t have coverings for your windows, consider investing in some. And if you do have coverings, use them to cover your windows during hot weather.
In cold weather during the daytime, feel free to draw back windows and blinds to let the sun shine in south-facing windows because this can help warm your home. Of course, if your home has leaky, drafty windows, it’s better to keep them covered.
7. Close Off Areas That You Don’t Use
If you have areas of your home that you don’t use for living space — such as a storage area — one way to save on electricity bills is to close off those areas. First, you will want to close off the vents that are located in those areas, so cold or hot air from your HVAC system isn’t routed there. Shut the doors securely to these type of spaces and place a draft stopper at the bottom of the door in the space that could leak cold or hot air into your home.