The heating and cooling of your home takes more energy than any of the other systems. On the average, heating and cooling makes up just over 40 percent of your utility costs and uses the most home energy. In addition to the costs, in the United States alone, heating and cooling systems emit around 150 million tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) into our atmosphere every year. They also generate sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which are both chief components of acid rain. Making your home more energy efficient will not only save money spent on utility bills, it will reduce the amount of these emissions, which will help the environment.
One of the best ways to save money on heating and cooling is to make sure that your home is well insulated. Weather proofing windows and door will help to a certain extent, but if the heat is being lost through uninsulated walls it won’t make much of a difference in the overall picture. Older homes are most at risk unless you’ve added insulation yourself. Most of the homes built before 1980 are not properly insulated and should be inspected. Adding or replacing insulation will make your home easier to heat and cool so that your furnace or air conditioner doesn’t constantly run and you aren’t faced with sticker shock when it’s time to pay the utility bills. There are various types of insulation available today, from the traditional rolled insulation to that which is blown in through the walls. Having your home inspected to see which is best for your situation can save you a great deal of money in the long run.
On top of insulating your home and weather proofing problem areas, you should make sure that your heating and cooling system is running at maximum efficiency. This means replacing filters monthly (or as needed) and having them inspected and serviced yearly. Also make sure that floor vents are cleaned regularly and kept free of obstructions in order to allow your system the proper amount of airflow to operate at peak performance. If your system is older, you may want to consider replacing it with a newer, more energy efficient model. Many improvements that reduce home energy use, such as insulating, replacing doors and windows, and replacing heating and cooling systems with newer models, not only save energy and money, but are tax deductible as well.
These are simply ideas for saving energy, there are many more ways to save on home energy costs and some or as simple as keeping your thermostat as low as your are comfortable with in winter and just high enough to be comfortable in summer. While you shouldn’t have to walk around the house in a parka during winter or swelter during the hotter months, wearing a sweater or running a fan in the house is a small inconvenience when you thing of the energy that you’ll save.