Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems

Efficient heating and cooling systems can help reduce the amount of energy needed and help keep some of your money in your bank instead of in the power companies bank.

So how do you keep your heating and cooling systems working efficiently? It is not really that difficult and when done on a timely basis can help keep your systems working for a long time, and most importantly not leave you shivering in the winter or sweating in the summer.

Heating and Cooling Tips

  • Clean or replace the filters on furnaces at least once a month or as needed. It really only takes a few minutes to check the filters. A dirty filter causes the furnace fan (which is also used with the air conditioner) to work harder and therefore use more electricity. Also if the furnace fan has to work harder it will wear out faster so changing the filter is a very good idea.
  • Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer. This is one of the best things to do for efficient heating and cooling. You will probably see the biggest savings by doing this one thing than just about anything else.
  • During winter open the sun facing window curtains and shades to let the sunshine in to warm your rooms and close them at night to keep the warmth in.
  • Reverse the above procedure in the summer and close the curtains and shades to keep the heat out and the cool in. And if you can find some insulating shades, they keep the heat out even better!
  • Don't leave your bathroom and laundry room exhaust fans and kitchen vent-a-hood running. They not only exhaust water vapor and smoke, they also exhaust cool air in the summer and heat in the winter. So keep their use to a minimum.
  • Have your heating and cooling system inspected once a year. Take advantage of pre-season check-up offers by reputable heating and air conditioning companies. But do it this way, have your heating system looked at in the fall and your cooling system looked at in early spring. These are the times of the year when the heating and air conditioning companies are least busy and good deals are available.
  • You don't really want to have to call an air conditioning maintenance person during the heat of the summer, not only will you have trouble getting someone to your home but I guarantee you will pay a premium for the visit. And likewise for a heating repair person.

Air Ducts

You are probably saying what do air ducts have to do with Heating and Air Conditioning efficiency. Well they can be very important for an efficient heating and cooling system. Air ducts are tubes that carry the air from your home's furnace and central air conditioner to each room.

Air ducts are made of sheet metal, fiberglass or other materials. They are usually located in your attic or in your basement if you have one. Unfortunately many duct systems are poorly insulated or not insulated at all. Leaking or under insulated ducts can cost you hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling bills.

  • To help guarantee efficient heating and cooling check your ducts for air leaks - Get a flashlight go up into your attic or basement and look for leaks. First look for duct sections that may have separated. Next look for obvious holes.
  • You can seal your own ducts, but don't use cloth-backed, rubber adhesive duct tape, which can fail quickly because of the heat. It is best to use other types of tape to seal ducts such as mastic, butyl tape, foil tape, or other heat-approved tapes. Make sure the tape has the Underwriters Laboratories logo.
  • Here is something you need to consider when you insulate basement ducts. Your basement will be cooler after you insulate, because the heat that was leaking from the ducts was keeping your basement warmer. So if you have water pipes and drains in your basement you might need to wrap them with electric heating tape to keep them from freezing.
  • If you have converted your basement into a living area, you might want to install a supply duct and register so you can keep the room warm.
  • When you insulate your cooling ducts make sure a well-sealed vapor barrier is on the outside of the insulation to prevent moisture buildup that could end up dripping onto the floor of your attic
  • If you have a fuel burning furnace, whether it is gas, oil or whatever always install a carbon monoxide monitor to alert you to dangerous CO levels. Ducts that don't work properly can create dangerous CO problems in your home. It is always better to be extra safe in protect you and your family.

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