Up to 60% of your utility bill can be attributed to heating and air conditioning especially in the dead of summer and winter. Consider making a change if any of these statements apply.
Dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure. To ensure efficient system operation, it’s important to perform routine maintenance.
Change your air filter regularly. A clean filter will prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system, which can lead to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure. Check your filter every month, especially during winter and summer months, when use tends to be heavier. Change your filter if it’s dirty- or at least every three months.
Tune up your HVAC equipment. Proper maintenance by a qualified technician is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent future problems. Contractors get busy during summer and winter months, so it is best to check the cooling system in spring and the heating system in the fall. Plan the checkups around the beginning and end of daylight-saving time each spring and fall. For tips on hiring the right contractor, see page 18, “Work with a Heating and Cooling Contractor.”
Your contractor should complete the following each spring and fall:
For heating systems:
For cooling systems:
A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
To decide which model is best for you, think about your schedule and how often you are away from home for regular periods of time-work, school, other activities-and then decide which of the three different models best fits your schedule:
• 7-day models are best if your daily schedule tends to change; for example, if children are at home earlier on some days. These models give you the most flexibility and let you set different programs for different days-usually with four possible temperature periods per day.
• 5+2-day models use the same schedule every weekday, and another for weekends.
• 5-1-1 models are best if you tend to keep one schedule Monday through Friday and another schedule on Saturdays and Sundays.
You can use the table below as a starting point for setting energy-saving temperatures, and then adjust the settings to fit your family’s schedule and stay comfortable.
If you have a heat pump, you may require a special programmable thermostat to maximize your energy savings year-round. Talk to your retailer or contractor for details before selecting your thermostat.
If you have a manual thermostat, you can adjust the temperatures daily before you leave the house and when you go to sleep at night. Typically, adjusting temperatures 5 – 8 degrees (down in winter, up in summer) can help save energy if you are going to be away from home for several hours.