Ever notice that your energy bill skyrockets during stifling summer or frigid winter temperatures from adjusting the thermostat to stay comfortable? The more your indoor temperatures differ from the temperature outside, the more expensive your utility bill will be so it can be difficult to keep your home in a comfortable temperature range without raising your energy expenditure. Below are some tips and alternatives to heating and cooling your home that will keep your home more comfortable without raising your bills.
USE BEDTIME AND NIGHTS OUT OF THE HOUSE TO CONSERVE ENERGY.
When your family is asleep or away from the house, you don’t have to run your HVAC system to run at maximum capacity. You’ll save a lot of money by giving your heating and cooling system a break while you aren’t there. In fact, by raising your indoor temperature just 7 to 10 degrees when you leave the house for a few hours, you will be able to save up to 10% on your cooling bill.
INVEST IN A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT AND ADJUST IT TO SUIT YOUR SCHEDULE.
A programmable thermostat is a great option if you don’t want to manually turn off the thermostat every time you go out for the day or go to bed. This saves running the system while you aren’t there, but you also don’t return home or wake up to a stuffy or chilly house. The thermostat will have begun to warm or cool the environment shortly before you arrived, or just before your wake-up time. The US Department of Energy recommends to keep resting temperatures around 78 degrees when you’re home during the summer. This temperature prevents heat from flowing into your home as quickly while also reducing the energy required to cool things down if you decide to lower the thermostat further. In the winter, it is recommended to keep the temperature around 68, but you can lower it slightly if planning to be away from the home (just make sure to keep it above 55 degrees to prevent your pipes from freezing.)
EXPERIMENT WITH THE THERMOSTAT TO DETERMINE WHICH TEMPERATURES YOUR FAMILY CAN COMFORTABLY TOLERATE.
If you are concerned about your growing energy bills, it’s time to experiment. See how much you can wean your family off of the HVAC system by turning the temperature up or down by just a couple of degrees each day over the course of a few days until it reaches the energy-saving temperatures recommended by the US Department of Energy (73 to 79 degrees in light clothing.) Your family may not even notice a 4-degree temperature change if it occurs within this range. Once you reach a temperature that your family reacts negatively to, however, you’ll know you’ve found your limits. Stay just above or below that temperature from there on out to save on power.
CALCULATE THE COSTS OF YOUR PREFERRED TEMPERATURES AND MAKE INFORMED CHANGES.
For every degree you raise or lower the thermostat, you are either raising or lowering your HVAC power costs by 3 to 5%. To give an example, if you keep indoor temperatures at 71 during the summer and your current bill averages $150, raise the thermostat just 4 degrees and you could save up to 30 dollars on the next bill. Though this might not sound like much, over time the savings will add up to a substantial amount of money. If the savings aren’t worth it to you, having this information will at least help you become more in control of your HVAC bills and allow you to make more informed decisions about your heating and cooling usage.
ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO HELP STAY COMFORTABLE.
When you’ve decided to cut back on HVAC costs, it’s time to find new ways to stay comfortable in the heat or the cold that won’t make you suffer and won’t cost you anything at all. Here are some top tips: In the summer, make use of fans, use a dehumidifier to cool the house, wear lightweight clothing, keep blinds closed during the day, make sure all weather stripping seals properly, and stay hydrated. In the winter, dress in layers, wear socks, and use blankets, cover hard floor surfaces with rugs, seal all cracks in windows and doors, keep curtains and doors closed, cook with the stove and the oven, drink warm beverages.
For further advice on lowering your HVAC expenses, contact our expert team at AAF.