Take These Simple Steps to Get the Most out of Your Homes Energy Efficiency Posted April 20, 2017 A HVAC system that’s well-maintained can use much less energy than one that is not. Routinely having your HVAC system serviced can improve performance and help save you money in electric costs. Luckily, there’s even more you can do to boost your house’s energy efficiency. Here are some painless actions you can take take to improve your the Bay Area home. Secure any leaks around your windows and doors. Even small gaps can let heat or cool air leave your house. Add caulk or weatherstripping wherever you find leaks. Use your windows. If it’s cooler after dark, turn off your your HVAC system and open the windows. In the morning, shut the windows and your curtains or blinds to keep the cooler air in and to avoid heat gain through the windows. Insulate your walls and attic. Insulation is generally associated with keeping your home warm in the colder months, but it also helps you out in the summer. Heat is constantly seeking cooler spaces—like your house. Sufficient insulation stops heat from moving through your attic and walls. Have your ducts cleaned. Air proceeds easier through your home when your ducts are uncluttered. That makes your air conditioner’s job easier. Check to see your ducts are accurately sealed to block air leaks and insulate them if needed. You’re losing valuable heated or cooled air if your ducts have leaks. Properly sealing and insulating ducts is even more crucial if they are in the attic, a vented crawlspace or any other unconditioned space. Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats make managing your home comfort and efficiency simple. You can automatically move your temperature when you’re not at home or when you’re sleeping while avoiding discomfort because your home’s temperature will return to normal when needed. If you choose not to use a programmable thermostat, avoid setting your thermostat at a colder-than-usual setting when you turn on your air conditioner. It might seem it will cool your home at a faster rate, but the time it takes to cool won’t be changed. You’ll end up costing yourself more in energy. Make your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. To help keep your cooling bill down, make sure the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures is as close as possible. According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7° to 10°F from its average setting for eight hours a day. Using a ceiling fan in partnership with your air conditioner can let you raise your thermostat a little more. You can raise your setting by about 4°F without changing your comfort. Limit heat-generating appliances near your thermostat. If you’re placing lamps, tvs or other heat generating appliances close to your thermostat, it can cause your air conditioner to run for an extended time because it senses heat from these appliances and thinks your home needs cooling. Invest in new, energy-efficient equipment. If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping up with your home-comfort needs, call Contra Costa Heating & AC for an check up. It could be time to replace it with ENERGY STAR®-qualified equipment that can lower your annual energy bill by more than $115, according to energystar.gov. If you’re interested in improving your home’s energy efficiency, call Contra Costa Heating & AC at 510-343-9841. Our pros can help you think about solutions, energy-efficient equipment or schedule a regular maintenance appointment. You can also schedule your appointment online using our online scheduler.