Summer’s here and while the temperature is rising, your energy costs don’t have to. Let the experts at ENERGY STAR show you how to keep your utility bills under control and help fight climate change, while keeping your cool air inside where you want it.
Proper HVAC Maintenance
Proper maintenance is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent future problems and avoid unwanted replacement costs. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- Change your air filter every three months. Dirty filters block air flow which can cause your system to work harder, leading to higher energy bills, as well as early system failure.
- Make sure your cooling system is operating at peak performance. Have an HVAC contractor give your equipment a tune up.
- If your HVAC equipment is more than 12 years old or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR certified equipment can cut your energy bill by more than $115 every year.
Seal and Insulate Your Home to Keep Your Cool
In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, about 20-30% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poor connections. Having the proper level of insulation in your attic and sealing your ducts are key factors to making sure you block incoming heat and keep the cool air flowing through your ducts from leaking out.
The attic is usually where you can find some of the largest opportunities to save energy in your home. By adding insulation in your attic, you can maintain the desired temperature throughout your home much better. Check attic insulation and add more if you can see the floor joists. This will help block hot air in your attic from coming in your house. Combined with air sealing, proper levels of insulation can help you save up to $200 on your annual utility bills. If you're not comfortable taking on this project yourself, there are many qualified contractors who can help you get the work done.
Save with Windows
To keep out the sun’s heat, close window shades and drapes in the summer. Doing so will reduce the amount of solar heat gain allowed into your home. This helps keep your air conditioning system from having to work as hard to maintain a cooler environment.
Use smart shading tactics and add shade trees and awnings on the south and west sides of the house to block the sun’s rays.
If you are in the market to replace your home’s windows, ask for ENERGY STAR certified windows. You can save as much as $100-$535 a year depending on where you live by replacing single-paned windows with ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR. During the summer, most ENERGY STAR certified windows reduce the “heat gain” into your home more than typical windows, without reducing the visible light. You get the light you need without the uncomfortable heat.
Use a programmable thermostat to automatically lower your air conditioning when you don’t need it. Raising the temperature seven degrees when no one’s home and four degrees at bedtime during the summer, along with proper programming in the winter, can save you more than $180 annually.
Use a ceiling fan and raise your thermostat two degrees. It can lower cooling costs by 14%. Need a ceiling fan? The simple choice is ENERGY STAR – a certified fan with lights is 60% more efficient.
Bathroom vent fans should be ENERGY STAR certified. They’re great at getting rid of humid air after a shower.
If your central cooling system is more than 12 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR certified model can cut cooling costs by 30%.
A room air conditioner with the ENERGY STAR label uses about 10% less energy and costs less than $70 a year to run, on average.
An ENERGY STAR dehumidifier uses 15% less energy.
Old incandescent bulbs make more heat than light! Get ENERGY STAR certified LEDs– they run much cooler.