EXPERT TIPS

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Set your thermostat at 78° F in the summer and 68° F in the winter and leave it alone.

With each degree decrease on your thermostat in the winter and increase in the summer, you can immediately realize a 3 percent to 4 percent decrease in energy use.

  • Install and preset an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat to automatically reduce energy usage when you are away or sleeping. Constantly changing the temperature causes your system to work harder.
  • Help your heating and cooling system operate more efficiently by keeping air vents clear of obstructions such as furniture, curtains and rugs.
  • Maintain heating and cooling unit efficiency by changing your standard filters monthly or pleated filters at least once every three months.
  • Have your heating and cooling systems professionally serviced annually to keep them running at top efficiency.
  • Clean dust from supply and return air grilles and heating outlets.
  • Make sure the caulk and weather-stripping around your windows and doors are in good shape. If the caulk is cracked or the weather-stripping is damaged or peeling, replace the old material.
  • Seal around wiring and plumbing penetrations. Use caulk for small holes and expanding foam for larger areas. This will keep unconditioned air from entering the house or conditioned air from escaping.
  • Make sure your ductwork is properly sealed. Gaps in joints of the ductwork can cause your heating and cooling bills to increase by as much as 30 percent and can allow outside air to enter your home.
  • Weather-strip and insulate your attic hatch or add a thermal hood to cut down on conditioned air loss.

 

In The Winter

  • On sunny days, open curtains and shades to let the sun warm your home naturally.
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when the fireplace is not in use. This will keep cold air from coming down the chimney and into your home. It also will reduce warm air loss from your home.
  • Dress warmly, even indoors. This will allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees lower and still stay comfortable.

 

In The Summer

  • Keep curtains and shades closed during the summer, especially on the east and west sides of your home.
  • Avoid using appliances that give off heat during the hottest times of the day as they will make your cooling system work that much harder. Do your cooking, washing and drying clothes in the morning or in the late evening, when the demand on your cooling system is less.
  • Using a ceiling or area fan in the summer will make the air feel up to six degrees cooler. However, use fans only if you are in the room. Running the fan doesn’t actually lower the temperature; it just makes you feel cooler.
  • If your cooling system runs continuously but doesn’t seem to be cooling adequately, change your filter. If that doesn’t work, have a licensed contractor check to see if refrigerant is low or if the coils are dirty. Keep plants and brush at least 3 feet away from outside units so they can operate more efficiently