Hold Down The High Cost Of Heating & Cooling
The high cost of comfort is like a hidden tax on homeownership. It’s a tax that keeps going up and up. It’s rising faster than your paycheck. But what can you do? You have to heat your home when it’s cold and cool it when it’s hot.
Actually, there are things you can do. Some are inexpensive. Others require investments in your home, but pay off almost immediately. Here are three ways to cut the cost of comfort.
One of the simplest ways to reduce utilities is by reducing outside air infiltration into your home. In other words, don’t pay to heat and cool the great outdoors. Infiltration is a bigger problem with older homes than new ones. New homes are usually built tight. There is not a lot of leakage from inside to out. Older homes were built to different standards when energy usage was less of concern. Visually inspect weather stripping, looking for cracks. Use an incense stick to check for drafts and air leaks around windows, doors, recessed lighting fixtures, and attic hatches. Replace old weather stripping and seal the leaks.
Empirical research shows that giving your home comfort system a professional tune-up will save more than it costs in a few months of operation, prevent breakdowns, restore lost heating and cooling capacity, and extend equipment life. A comfort system is a robust collection of mechanical equipment. It operates as many hours in the course of a year as your car does in three or four years. Just like your car’s performance would degrade after three or four years of operation without any maintenance, your comfort system’s performance degrades after a year of operation. You need annual maintenance. Moreover, it saves more utility expense than it costs. And, it will make your home more comfortable. Warm weather is just around the corner. It’s not too soon to schedule a tune-up for your cooling system.
Tight houses help on energy in the summer. During cold months, the savings can be offset by low humidity. As the temperature rises, air can hold more moisture. Heat your home in the winter and the air draws moisture like a sponge. Perspiration on your skin evaporates instantly, creating a cooling sensation (i.e., it’s a “dry heat”). By introducing supplemental moisture to the air, humidity is raised and comfort increases despite a lower winter thermostat setting. Proper humidity saves energy because people feel comfortable with a lower thermostat setting. While tabletop humidifiers abound, the best solution is an automatic whole-house duct mounted central humidifier. These products sense the humidity in the home and add moisture directly to the air stream as needed. You can set it and forget it.
The biggest savings come from replacing old equipment with new, more energy efficient equipment. Heating and air conditioning equipment is two to three times more efficient than a couple of decades ago, depending on the type of equipment. This means that you can dramatically reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home, simply by upgrading equipment. You can probably make your home more comfortable too. Upgrading your equipment does require an investment, but it’s less than you might think. The energy savings will offset most or all of the monthly payments. Depending upon the age and condition of your existing equipment, you could easily end up with more money in your pocket at the end of the month by upgrading. You can either pay the utility or you can invest in an upgrade. The utility will keep wanting more and more with nothing tangible to show. Buy upgraded equipment and you will improve your home’s comfort and continue saving long after the equipment is paid off.
If you want to find out how much you can save, call us. While the weather’s mild, we’ll set an appointment at your convenience and provide a complementary analysis of your home’s comfort system. But hurry. Once the weather turns, the schedule fills fast!