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Heating and cooling are some of the biggest month-to-month expenses homeowners face. This is especially true during the summer and winter months, when the HVAC system is in maximum use. And unfortunately, using your HVAC system incorrectly can result in hefty heating and cooling bills.
With summer fast approaching, we thought this would be a good time to focus on keeping cool without wasting money in the process. So if you’re looking for a few simple ways to decrease your heating and cooling costs, keep reading.
Enjoy A Cold Frozen Dessert
Indulging in a delicious frozen treat is a sure way to take your mind off the sweltering summer heat (here’s a list of some of our favorite summer desserts). Summer is the perfect time to put aside the savory baked goods and instead enjoy frosty, frozen, feel-good desserts.
Every year, an incredible 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream is produced in the United States. A family trip to a local ice cream shop is a great way to escape the summer heat. You can also recruit your kids and work on a frozen dessert together. Creative milkshakes, low-fat smoothies, and homemade popsicles are both delicious and easy to make.
Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, you’re missing out on a super easy way to reduce your heating and cooling expenses. Did you know that adjusting the temperature by just a few degrees can make a big difference in your utility bills? And when you have a programmable thermostat, you don’t have to worry about remembering to adjust the temperature yourself. In the colder months, you should program your system to lower the temperature during times when you’re sleeping or away at work. And in the warmer months, the system can be programmed to use less air conditioning during those same times. This way, you won’t even notice the difference in temperatures. And when you have a new thermostat installed, you should have the entire HVAC system inspected. This is important because something as simple as changing the air filters every three months can help your system continue to operate at maximum efficiency. So take a look at what kind of small changes you can make to your system.
Consider Your Insulation
Insulation tends to be something homeowners don’t think about very often. But when it comes to heating and cooling, insulation plays a major role. Just think about how homes that are built with insulated concrete can use about 45% less energy for heating and 30% less energy to cool than homes built with traditional wood frames. Insulation can become less effective over the years, which means it can let more air escape. If places in your home like the attic are poorly insulated, you’re wasting a lot of money on heating and cooling. So it can be extremely beneficial to take a look at what kind of condition your insulation is in. Not only that, but you should take a look at drafty windows and doors as well, seeing as how 38% of heat loss can be through doors and windows in an average home. If there is even a slight crack around a window or door, air can escape. So take a real close look at your insulation and sealing situation in your home to ensure your house is air-tight.
Be Mindful of the Sunlight
Sunlight beaming in through the window does more than look nice — it can also heat your home up pretty quickly. So it’s important to use this to your advantage. During the warmer months, it’s a good idea to keep the curtains closed. This is especially important in rooms that get a lot of sunlight during the middle of the day. Keeping the sun out will help your air conditioning work less to keep the room cold. And during the winter, do the opposite. Keep your curtains wide open during the day to let in as much sunlight as possible. Doing this will help heat your home naturally, giving your HVAC system a break. Consider opening or closing your curtains before you go to bed each night so you don’t forget the next day. Of course, the opposite is true as well. Strategic landscaping can help keep your AC costs down in the summer. Shade from well placed trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 25% or more during the summer. Furthermore, the protection trees provide against wind can end up reduce heating costs by 10%.
Pro tip: It’s not just about your HVAC. Water bills can get pretty high in the winter as well! Listen to your toilet. A running toilet can leak upwards of 200 gallons a day. Get it checked by a plumber if you hear anything out of the ordinary.
You don’t have to make big changes to save on heating and cooling costs. Consider these simple tips to help you save a few bucks while keeping your home comfortable.