• Heather Rottenberger

Reducing Energy Costs

Energy Costs

As much as half of consumer's energy costs are for heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills – and your comfort.

Controlling direct sun light and outdoor air is a very important part of reducing monthly energy costs. By opening shades on the East side of your home or building in the morning and then on the West side in the evening can help reduce heating costs during the Winter months. While awnings and vegetation are relatively inexpensive ways to cut cooling costs in the Summer months by blocking sun light to keep the building cool.

Preventative Maintenance

A tune-up of your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system is critical to maintaining efficiency and preventing high energy costs. HVAC maintenance should be performed by a certified HVAC technician. Similar to buying a car, routine maintenance is required to maintain and extend the life of the equipment. A contract agreement with a HVAC contractor typically provides a minimum of two seasonal tune-ups before summer and winter to ensure your Heating and Air Conditioning system is ready for the months ahead.

Regularly changing things like Air Conditioning air filters every month during the heart of summer and winter can also help to reduce costs. New air filters are relatively affordable, usually only a few dollars, but can be the difference between hundreds of dollars in energy bills or system replacement costs.

Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature in your home before you get out of bed, when you leave for work, before you return from work, and when you go to bed. Installing a programmable thermostat could save you as much as 20 percent on your heating and cooling costs.

Turn down the heat. You’ll typically save 1 to 3 percent on your heating costs for every degree you turn down the thermostat. Set your thermostat at 68 degrees when you’re home, 65 degrees when you’re away for a short time, and 58 degrees if you’re away from home five hours or more.

Source: 100 Ways to Save - Consumers Energy

Steps You Can Take

Sealing leaks around windows and under doors can drastically reduce energy costs especially by going around to each window and checking that the it is not leaking and caulking any leaks. Closing fire place flues when they are not being used will also helps reduce outside air from entering the building. In the winter months, heat can escape through the chimney and increase inefficiency.

Updating appliances that are more than 10 years old can increase energy efficiency. Units that are ten years old can use twice the amount of energy as a new Energy Star refrigerator, washer, or dryer.

Lastly, using energy efficient light bulbs can also cut costs. Many energy companies even provide consumers with an energy efficient starter pack of about 20 energy efficient light bulbs at no cost to the consumer.