Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 61% of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling. What’s more, heating and cooling systems in the United States together emit over a half billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global warming. They also generate about 24% of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and 12% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain.
No matter what kind of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning
system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach.
Heating and Cooling Tips
o Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and
as high as is comfortable in the summer.
o Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.
o Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
o Bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season;
if in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional.
o Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and
o Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
o During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to
enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
o During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.
By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy bills and your pollution output in half.