Homeowners have many ongoing expenses when maintaining their home, but one of the most significant can be their heating and cooling costs. Whether it's fighting the cold of a Michigan winter or the steamy heat of a Florida summer, getting conditioned air throughout your home can take a big bite out of your wallet. Fortunately, there are things you can do right now to get the most out of your heating and cooling system and save on energy costs.
One way to reduce your energy costs is to avoid losing the conditioned air that your system is generating. To do this, you have to ensure that your home is fully insulated.
Attic: Whether it is batt, foam or loose fill, the insulation in your attic should fully cover the floor space. It should also be slightly higher than the height of the joists
Walls: Check wall insulation by removing switch plates or plug outlets (after turning off the power). You should be able to see whether you have sufficient insulation. If you don't, a contractor can blow in or inject insulation
Crawlspaces: You can also lose a lot of energy through your floor crawlspaces, so these should be insulated as well. These are often difficult to get to, so you may need the help of a professional
Another effective way to reduce your home energy costs is to eliminate air leaks in your home and in your ductwork. One government study estimates that homes lose up to 25% of their conditioned air through leaky ductwork.
Ductwork: Examine your heating and cooling system ductwork for leaks around joints. These often happen where sections are joined or where there has been twisting or damage. You can also get leaks near ductwork grills. The best way to look for a leak is to turn the system on and hold a lit incense stick near the ductwork. If there is a leak, the smoke will move sideways
Windows and doors: Check around your doors and windows for leaks and drafts. You can use caulking, weatherstripping or cans of expanding foam to seal cracks and gaps. You can also replace old single pane windows with insulated windows
Attic: However much insulation you have in your attic, if there are cracks in the flooring or gaps around vents and pipes you can lose a lot of energy. Small cracks can be sealed with caulking, while large gaps can be filled with expanding foam. Make sure there is a gasket seal around your attic door and that it is functioning properly
Basement: Examine the connection between your sill and your home. If there is a large gap, fill it with expanding foam. Openings around exiting pipes and vents should also be sealed
Another important part of minimizing your heating and cooling costs is to properly maintain your heating and cooling system. Some of these things you can do yourself, while others are best left to a professional.
Filters: It's extremely important that you regularly change (or in some systems clean) your heating and cooling systems filters. Not doing so can make your home uncomfortable, increase your costs and cause wear and tear to the system
Obstructions: Make sure that all duct vents and returns are clear of obstructions, such as wall hangings or furniture
Maintenance contract: One of the best ways to keep your heating and cooling system operating at maximum efficiency is to purchase a yearly maintenance contract from a local company. This means that a technician will come by your home on a regular schedule to check the efficiency of your system and perform necessary maintenance and repairs
If you want to save on energy costs, making sure you get the most from your heating and cooling system is one of the best ways to do it. There are many ways you can go about this, and if you have any further questions please feel free to contact us. Our team of friendly and experienced professionals is always happy to help you.