Maintaining your home at a comfortable temperature throughout all four seasons can be tricky. Sweltering summer temperatures and freezing winter storms can drive up your heating and cooling budget. These 10 tips can help you save money while keeping your family comfy all year round.
1. Keep the Blinds or Curtains Closed
One of the most powerful ways to conserve heating and cooling is a very simple one. Keep your blinds, curtains, drapes or other window coverings closed whenever the weather is extreme. Of course you can open the curtains wide to let your kids enjoy a look at the beautiful snow, but make sure they’re closed again to cut down on those heating bills.
2. Replace Your Air Filters
Air filters should be replaced at least six times every year. If you use your HVAC system heavily, or if there’s a high level of pollen or other pollution in the air, you should consider replacing the filters every month. Yes, it’s an extra cost, but it pays for itself in better air conditioning and heating performance. Think of it as an investment in the ongoing comfort of your home.
3. Don’t Overuse Exhaust Fans
Running an exhaust fan can be helpful while you’re cooking dinner or taking a long, relaxing bath. As soon as you’ve cleared the room of steam, be sure to turn the exhaust fan off. If you let it run too long, you’re pumping air at a comfortable temperature out of the house and letting in cold or hot air. Keep your home at a healthy temperature by minimizing the amount of air that goes in and out during a typical day.
4. Teach Your Kids to Shut the Door
This is an important one for busy moms. Make sure your kids know that it’s important to shut the door behind them. In the excitement of coming home from school or getting ready for a trip to the park, it’s easy for kids to leave the door open. Every minute the door stays open can translate to extra dollars on your heating or cooling bill. Teenagers can be culprits as well as little kids. Unless they’re going in or out, the door stays firmly shut. Energy-efficient doors are a great additional investment for families.
5. Keep Baseboard Registers Clean
Baseboard registers need to be free of obstruction to do their job efficiently. Make sure they are clear of debris and dust. Keep heavy furniture and drapes away from them. Part of your regular cleaning routine should be wiping off baseboard registers and checking to make sure that nothing is trapped in them. In a busy house full of kids and their friends, all kinds of small objects can be mysteriously lost in baseboard openings. Keep them clean.
6. Invest in Radiator Reflectors
Radiator reflectors can be a great addition to your heating system during the cold winter months. These clever heat-resistant reflectors go in between the radiator and the wall. Instead of letting the heat escape toward the outside wall and into the wide world, they reflect it back into the center of the room and help keep your family’s toes cozy on winter days. They can cut up to 10 percent of your heating bill if they are installed and maintained correctly.
7. Reflect Hot Sunlight Away From Your Home
Reflectors aren’t just good for economizing on heating bills. They can also help you keep your house cool throughout the summer. Think of your home as a miniature greenhouse that absorbs heat from the rays of the sun. Reflective windows, curtains, window shields and other devices can keep the heat out of your interior. If the heat doesn’t get in, the air conditioner doesn’t have to fight it, and your bills go down. Reflective roof paint can also be a good idea, especially in climates where the weather is hot for a good proportion of the year.
8. Don’t Hesitate to Get a Professional HVAC Consultation
Sometimes your heating or cooling system just isn’t working at its best. When this happens, don’t hesitate to call a local HVAC company for help and advice. Basic cleaning and maintenance is important, but so is professional care for these complicated systems. A consultation can help you rule out problems and get things working in top form again. Build a good relationship with local HVAC service experts so you can call when your home’s climate control is on the blink. Their number should be in your phone or your handy list of local numbers.
9. Get Repairs When You Need Them
Getting major repairs at the right time can save a lot of money in the long run. The experts recommend getting a check-up on your HVAC system at least once a year. This will decrease the chance of an unpleasant surprise at an inconvenient time of year. Don’t risk losing your air conditioning while you’re stuck at home with the kids on a 100-degree day in August. Repairs are an investment, but they pay back in peace of mind and comfort at home.
10. Be Smart With the Thermostat
One of the most important tips for keeping your home comfortable on a budget has nothing to do with gear, gadgets or maintenance. It’s at the tips of your fingers. When you’re smarter with the household thermostat, you can keep your bills down all year round. According to Forbes, household air conditioners can use more than 3000 kilowatt-hours every year. You can decrease this figure, even in a hot climate, when you think about where to set the thermostat every day.
If you decide to keep your home cooled to 76 degrees instead of 72 degrees throughout the summer, you can cut a hefty chunk from your bills. The same goes for winter heating bills. Encourage your family to bundle up on the couch with cozy sweaters and a mug of hot cider. You’ll start seeing the savings almost immediately.
Maintaining your home at a pleasant temperature all year round doesn’t have to break the bank. By following these tips, you can start enjoying greater comfort and improved finances today.