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Budgeting for heating and cooling

When you are budgeting for home costs…remember that heating and cooling account for about 50% of your home energy costs.

Here are some easy ways to increase your HVAC system’s efficiency and lower your utility bills:

Purchase a programmable thermostat.

One of the easiest ways to save money on your utility bills is to purchase a programmable thermostat and use it correctly.

Change your air filter regularly.

Dirty air filters block the airflow through your system making it work harder and also less efficient. Once a month, take out your air filter and inspect it for debris. If you cannot see light passing through your filter, it is probably time for a change.

Clean the coils on your air conditioning unit.

Keeping the AC coils on your outdoor unit clean is another easy way to keep your system from running inefficiently. The fan in your outdoor unit pulls warm air in and over the coils, but it also pulls in dirt and debris.Keep the coils clean by clearing any debris from the outside of your unit. Next, shut off the power to your system and vacuum the outside “fins” on the unit with your vacuum’s soft bristle attachment, or rinse them with a hose.

If you think your coils need a more intensive cleaning, call an HVAC professional to service your unit.

Check your home’s ducts and registers.

These are the pathways that air travels throughout your home. In order to keep the airflow in your home at maximum capacity, vacuum your registers whenever you see dust accumulating on the register.

Replace your HVAC equipment with newer, high-efficiency equipment.

If your system is 10 to 15 years old, it may need to be replaced. Consider replacing your unit with a high-efficiency unit that maximizes energy savings. This may be costly up front, but if you can afford to make the investment, it pays off big time in energy savings over time.