If you recently purchased a new heating and cooling system or if you have high heating and cooling costs, the problem may not be your system. There are many factors that can affect the efficiency of your HVAC system. Check out these six tricks to cut cooling and heating costs in your home.
Add Some Insulation in the Attic
Many homes have insufficient insulation, especially in older homes. One of the easiest places to check insulation levels and add more insulation is your attic (if it is unfinished). Simply pop your head inside. The insulation should be about 10 to 14 inches thick. If there is less insulation, add some. It doesn't have to be the same type of insulation, and you can simply add the new insulation to the old insulation. If your attic insulation is low, the insulation in your walls probably is too, but that is harder to check and fix. However, a professional can cut a hole into a wall and blow loose-fiber insulation into the wall.
Check the Ductwork
The next area to check is the ductwork. Your ductwork needs insulation in a few spots, too, to keep the air warmer or cooler while it travels through the ducts. Add insulation around the ducts in basements, crawlspaces, attics, or any other area that is not heated or cooled. If you spot any gaps or holes in the ducts, repair those with metal tape. It may be best to have a professional check the harder-to-reach ducts in the walls and ceiling. Last, get your ducts cleaned. As dust gathers inside the duct, it makes it harder for air to travel, putting strain on your system.
Install a Ceiling Fan
Ceiling fans are an affordable addition to your cooling and heating system. The benefit of a ceiling fan during the summer is obvious: it creates cool air on your skin. However, you can also use ceiling fans to boost heating efficiency. Simply turn the fan to reverse during the colder months. This causes the fan to blow the cold air upward. This pushes hot air that has risen to the ceiling back down to the living space. As a result, you use less energy because you aren't heating your ceiling.
Buy Insulated Curtains
Insulated curtains are another great option for both hot and cold days. During the summer, keep your insulated curtains closed, especially at the hottest times of the day. This blocks some of the heat from entering your home. While the heat still transfers through the window, the insulated curtains prevent much of the heat transfer. During the winter, you can keep your curtains closed to keep warm air inside the home. When warm air touches a cold window, it cools and creates a draft. With insulated curtains blocking your cold windows, less air is exposed.
Repair all Exterior Holes
You can have many small holes in the exterior walls of your home without even realizing it, and they let out more hot/cold air than you think. One common place for gaps is around windows. This is because the frame may stretch and shrink as the temperature changes, causing damage. Another common reason for holes in your exterior wall is pipes. Pipes that travel through the exterior wall usually have some gapping around them. You can fix most small holes in your home with spray-foam insulation. It comes in a spray can, and as the foam dries, it expands to fill the entire area.
Keep Vents Open
Unless you have zoned heating and cooling, it's best to heat/cool all of your house and avoid closing vents. People often close vents to rooms they don't need heated or cooled, or they may close vents because they are too cold or hot. However, this can cause drafts as the cold room steals hot air from your living space. Plus, it puts extra strain on the system because the same volume of air now has fewer exits.
If your furnace or air conditioner seems to be wasting too much energy, there may be a simple solution. Before getting a new system, try these six tricks to see if they lower your energy bills. For more information about HVAC systems, contact a technician at a company like Estes Heating & Air Conditioning in your area today.