Given the current state of our economy and climate, it’s no wonder that you want to save both your bank account and the planet. If you want to save money on your heating and cooling bills while also reducing the size of your carbon footprint, here are some things you should do.
1. Use energy-efficient appliances.
The simplest way to go green and save money on heating and air conditioning costs is to make sure that you buy energy-efficient appliances. The experts from True Energy Smart Air say, “Look for the Energy Star logo and make sure you actually do the research to make sure that you are truly getting the best and greenest value.”
2. Set the thermostat and leave it alone.
It’s easier for your heater and A/C units to change the temperature of your home by a couple of degrees than it is to change it by ten, twenty, or even more. So, figure out a good temperature for your home, set the thermometer, and then leave it alone.
To save even more money, set the temperature a little cooler in the winter and a little warmer in the summer. Make up the temperature difference with fans, or by wearing a sweater or cozying up under a blanket. Turn it down/up even more during the night while you are sleeping and when you are out of the house during the day.
3. Buy and install a smart thermostat.
If you want to save even more money, you can install a “smart” thermostat or have a professional HVAC technician install it for you. You can program a smart thermostat to change temperatures at certain times. This way you won’t have to worry that you left the heat on when you left for work in the morning or wake up in the middle of the night and realize that you’ve left the air conditioner cranked up. It changes the temperature for you—you don’t even have to think about it!
4. Use energy-efficient and insulated windows.
A window made of a single pane of glass is the least energy-efficient window you can have in your home. Double paned windows are better. Triple glazed windows are even better than that. These reduce the leeching of air between the inside and outside of the home by as much as two-thirds. Make sure that the windows are fitted properly to your home by a professional window installer so that you don’t have to worry about air getting in around the edges of the frame. You can improve this even further by covering the windows with a thick layer of plastic on the inside during the winter and by covering them with shades on the outside during the summer.
5. Keep units properly maintained and vents clear of debris.
Regularly patrol your home to make sure that all of the vents—both internal and external—are clean and debris-free. Don’t forget to check the lint trap on your dryer as well as the vent from the dryer outside! Debris-filled and dirty vents can greatly reduce the heating and cooling efficiency of your appliances. Be sure to call in a duct cleaning professional to do it properly.
6. Properly insulate your home.
It is important to make sure that your attic and roof are properly insulated so that your house is better able to maintain its temperature. It’s also important to make sure that the inside of your walls are insulated as well—not just the walls that go around the outside of your home but the walls between the rooms of your home, too. Filling the walls with insulation helps each room of the house maintain its temperature, which is handy when one person likes a room to be cold but the person sleeping down the hall loves the heat.
7. Block gaps with weather stripping.
There are tons of gaps in your home that you probably don’t ever think about. Doors, for example, can have up to a half-inch-high gap between where they stop and where your floor begins. Window frames can also have gaps due to improper installation. Vents are another area of this nature. Make sure that your doors, vents, and windows have the proper weather stripping and padding so that you aren’t simply paying to heat (or cool) the outdoors through the gaps that surround them.
These are just seven basic ways that you can reduce the costs for heating and cooling of your home while also reducing the amount of energy you need to use to keep your home at a livable temperature year-round.
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon, who covers a variety of topics.