Take These Simple Steps to Get the Most out of Your Home’s Energy Efficiency 04/20/2017Regularly having your HVAC system cleaned and tuned up can elevate its performance and help lower your energy costs because an HVAC system that’s well-maintained can use much less energy than a system that is not. But what else could you do? We have more easy steps you can take to increase your Charlottesville home’s energy efficiency. Seal the leaks around your windows and doors. Apply caulk or weatherstripping at the locations you find leaks. Insulate your walls and attic. You may equate insulation with keeping your house warm throughout the winter, but it also provides benefits in the summer. When it’s hot outside, heat is continually seeking cooler places—like your home. Be sure you have enough insulation to keep the heat from moving through your attic and walls and decreasing your home comfort. Have your ducts cleaned. Clean ducts make it easier for air to flow through your home, which makes your air conditioner’s job simpler. While you’re at it, make sure your ducts are properly sealed to avoid air leaks and insulate them if needed. If your air ducts are leaking, you’re losing valuable heated or cooled air. Properly sealing and insulating ducts is even more necessary if they are situated in the attic, a vented crawlspace or any other unconditioned area. Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible during the summer. To help possibly keep your cooling bill lower, keep the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures as little as possible. According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling by just turning your thermostat back 7° to 10°F from its usual setting for 8 hours a day. If you use a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioner, you can raise your thermostat setting by about 4°F without negatively disturbing your comfort. Install a programmable thermostat. Sure, thermostats can be adjusted physically, but programmable thermostats make managing your home comfort and efficiency simpler. You can automatically regulate your temperature when you’re away from home or when you’re sleeping while avoiding discomfort because your home’s temperature will return to normal before you arrive home or wake up. If you decide not to use a programmable thermostat, avoid setting your thermostat at a colder-than-usual setting when you turn on your air conditioner. Your house won’t cool down any faster and will only cost you more money in energy. Don’t place lamps, TV sets or other heat-generating appliances by your thermostat. This practice can force your air conditioner to run longer than needed because your thermostat senses heat from these appliances and assumes your home needs cooled. [Use|Utilize|Take advantage of]54] your windows. If it’s cooler at night, turn off your AC and open the windows. Shut the windows and your curtains or blinds in the morning to trap the cooler air and to avoid heat gain through the windows. Invest in new, energy-efficient equipment. If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not meeting with your home-comfort needs, call Beck Cohen for a review. It may be time to replace it with ENERGY STAR®-qualified equipment that can cut your annual energy bill by more than $115, according to energystar.gov. If you’ve got some questions about how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, think it might be time for more energy-efficient equipment or simply want to schedule a regular maintenance appointment, call Beck Cohen at 434-296-0129 and our experts can help. If it’s more convenient, schedule your appointment online utilizing our online scheduler.