Heating & Cooling
Heating and cooling your home accounts for about 60% of your energy costs. Making smart decisions about your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning can have a big impact on your utility bills - and your comfort.
When choosing a new furnace, buy a product that offers the best quality for the price within your budget. Consider the overall cost of each furnace (purchase price, installation costs, and operating costs). Often the best choice is the most efficient product. A higher purchase price is usually more than compensated by lower operating costs and, in some cases, a lower installation cost.
If you are exploring heating and cooling options for a new or existing house, or if you are looking for ways to reduce your energy costs, consider buying an energy-efficient heat pump. A heat pump can provide year-round climate control by supplying heat to your home in the winter and cooling in the summer. Some types also provide supplementary hot water heating.
A heat pump works just like an air conditioner, but also provides space heating during cold months. It’s best to use the heat pump along with your furnace to provide space heating at a lower cost.
In the Winter...
- Set your thermostat back. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you save 2 - 3% on your energy bill. Turning it down by 4° at night will save 10% on your bill.
- Use the sun's heat and light by opening your blinds during the day to warm your house.
- Turn down the heat when you're not home. If you are away at the same time every day, try a programmable thermostat.
- Close doors and heating vents in rooms that don't need to be heated, and install insulation pads behind all electrical outlet plates to prevent air leaks.
- Replace missing or worn caulk around windows and doors to block cold drafts and heat loss.
In summer, high humidity, higher temperatures, and bright sunshine can combine to make your home uncomfortable. An air conditioner can provide comfort by lowering both the air temperature and humidity in the home.
- room air conditioners
- central air conditioner
- heat pump
The best choice of system depends on your circumstances, so take the time to think about your needs. Ask yourself if the whole house needs to be air conditioned, or if cooling in one or two rooms would be enough.
- Room air conditioners are an effective, low-cost option for small spaces, up to three rooms. They are easy to install.
- Central air conditioners and heat pumps cool the whole home. Central air conditioners offer cooling only, but heat pumps provide heating too.
In the Summer...
Choosing an energy-efficient air conditioner is the first step in lowering your energy costs. Follow these steps for more savings:
- Set the thermostat at the highest temperature that is still comfortable (25.5°C recommended).
- If you leave home for more than four hours, set the thermostat to 28°C.
- Do not block the air conditioner vents with drapes or furniture.
- Use continuous air conditioner fan operation only when needed to keep the room comfortable.
- When you turn your air conditioner on, do not set the thermostat lower than you need. It won’t cool the area any faster.
- Whenever possible, use fans instead of your air conditioner. Fans cost less to operate.
- On hot, sunny days, keep the blinds or curtains closed to stop the sun from heating your home.
Caring for Your Heating & Cooling System
Change your air filter regularly
Check your filter every month and change it at least every three months. A dirty filter slows air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm or cool, and wasting energy.
Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly
Just as a tune up for your car can improve gas mileage, a yearly tune up for your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.
Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time through the week. By properly using pre-programmed settings, you can save $150 every year in energy costs.
Seal your heating and cooling ducts
Ducts that move air to and from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 %.
Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment
If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old, or not keeping your house comfortable, have a professional HVAC contractor look at it. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR unit. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency heating and cooling units can save up to 20 % on heating and cooling costs.