(StatePoint) In cool weather, wise homeowners will take steps to ensure their homes are well-prepared. There are a number of ways you can keep your home comfortable and your energy bills in check all season.
Is your heating equipment working optimally or are you wasting energy and paying more than you should?
It is estimated that nearly half of all heating and cooling equipment in U.S. homes never performs to its advertised capacity and efficiency due to incorrect installation, according to U.S. government statistics. And if you have an older system that was built before current efficiency standards, you could be spending more than needed on heating your home.
If you need to replace your system, be sure to have it properly installed by an HVACR professional, certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE), the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit certification body for HVACR technicians. NATE-certified technicians are skilled professionals who have proven their knowledge in the HVACR industry by passing specialized certification tests.
Beyond having an efficient heating system properly installed, there are several other steps you can take to make your home cool-weather friendly:
• Clean heating filters. Check them every couple of weeks and change them at least twice in the season, or as directed by the manufacturer.
• Check and maintain insulation. Improperly insulated walls, floors, attics, basements and crawlspaces drain away heat and can also lead to moisture imbalance. Adding weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors can also improve a home’s insulation.
• Turn down the thermostat or install a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature.
• Clean the furnace area. Don’t keep chemicals or cleaning products near a heater, and don’t store anything next to it that could impede ventilation.
• Keep vents and returns free of obstructions. Don’t lay carpet over vents, place furniture over or in front of them, or obstruct the flow of air.
• Dry air feels cooler than moist air, so install a humidifier. A simple humidifier may make the home feel five degrees warmer than a home with dry air.
• Look into geothermal heating systems. By using the earth`s natural heat, these systems are among the most efficient and energy-conserving heating and cooling technologies currently available.
• Have your system serviced regularly for optimal performance. To avoid poor service and scams, be sure to hire an HVACR professional certified by NATE. To find a qualified local contractor who employs certified technicians, look for the NATE logo or go to HVACRAdvice.com.
By making sure your heating system is operating efficiently and by adopting a few energy-friendly habits, you can maintain a warm, comfortable home while keeping heating costs down.