Simple Steps Your Can Do to Save on Your Utility Bill
Set the thermostat
The most economical operation of your system comes from a proper setting on your thermostat. Set the thermostat at the highest summer setting or the lowest winter setting at which you are comfortable. Typical settings are 76 degrees for summer cooling and 70 degrees for winter heating. When cooling, your operating costs increase from 3% to 8% for each degree your thermostat is lowered. When heating, your operating costs increase for each degree your thermostat is raised.
A great way to improve efficiency and save energy is with a 5 or 7 day digital programmable thermostat. This allows you to schedule raising or lowering your thermostat settings when you are not home.
Keep the air filter clean
Check the air filter in your furnace or fan coil each month. A dirty filter will cause excessive wear on your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Replace your filter when necessary, or clean it if you have the reusable type (If you have a reusable filter, make sure it is completely dry before you re-install it). A good rule of thumb is to check your filters when you get your utility bills. This will help remind you to check your filters. This very simple and easy to complete task is one of the most frequently ignored.
Keep vents and grills unobstructed
Arrange your furniture and drapes so that all output vents and intake grills are free from obstruction. This will reduce the cooling and heating load on your system for more economical operation. Especially your return grills. The air flow that feeds through the furnace or air handler starts the heating and cooling process. The air is pulled into the blower unit from the house through the return grill. A blocked return grill can starve the blower unit of proper air flow causing it to work inefficiently and causing unneeded repairs from wear and tear.
Avoid excessive use of exhaust fans
Excessive use of kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans will make your system work harder. This will increase energy consumption and costs. Keep costs in check by making wise use of exhaust fans.
Control direct sunlight
Let the sun in during the winter. Keep the sun out during summer. In summer, direct sunlight increases the load on your cooling system. Use of window shades and awnings will reduce the amount of direct sunlight and lower the cooling load. In winter, direct sunlight reduces the load on your heating system.
Keep the condenser coil clean
The condenser coil (the unit outside your house) should be kept clean to ensure efficient operation. If the condenser coil becomes restricted by dirt, lint, paper, grass clippings, leaves, or other debris, system efficiency will deteriorate. Use a garden hose to keep the condenser coil clean. Check the base pan (under the unit) occasionally and remove debris to help the unit drain properly. To clean dirt that is deep in the coil, contact a Rocky Top One-Hour Heating & Air and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing representative to schedule maintenance.
Insulate air ducts
Ducts that pass through spaces in your home that have not been tempered such as crawlspaces, attics or basements can experience temperature changes more rapidly when not insulated. Be sure these air ducts are well insulated to maximize efficiency.
Keep an air-tight house
Ensure maximum retention of heated or cooled air by adding insulation to outside walls and to the attic. Seal cracks and use storm doors and/or insulated doors to prevent air leaks. This step can create other Indoor Air Quality issues if your heating and cooling system is not properly sized and by minimizing the fresh air in the home. Trapped air can become polluted as it is continually cycled through the system over and over again. A filtering or air treatment system may be required for an air tight house.
Keep heat away from the thermostat
Make sure no heat-generating appliances are near your thermostat. These include lamps, TVs, stereo and computer equipment.
Clean Air Cleaner
The pre-filter and collection cells of an electronic air cleaner should be cleaned at least two or three times per year.
Clean your humidifier at the beginning of every heating season. Review your owner manual for the proper procedure to clean the evaporator pad and external components.
Make sure your outdoor coil stays in a level position. If the support for your outdoor coil shifts or settles and the unit is no longer level, re-level it to make sure moisture drains properly out from under the unit.
Inspect your furnace combustion area and vent system before each heating season. If you find dirt, soot or rust, your system may not operate properly or at its peak efficiency. Call Rocky Top One-Hour Heating & Air and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and do not operate your furnace until it is professionally inspected and/or repaired.
Failure to comply with all manufacturer instructions may result in fire or combustion that can cause property damage, serious injury or death. Before you perform any kind of maintenance, disconnect all electrical power to the unit before removing access panels; and be alert for sharp edges when handling parts or reaching into units. If performing maintenance not included in the list below, check with a Rocky Top One-Hour Heating & Air representative to determine if the service will void manufacturer warranties and guaranties. Its better to be safe than sorry.