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5 Heating and Cooling Tips That Can Tame Your Utility Bills Year-Round

heating and cooling tips

With the weather turning cold and winter right around the corner, it's a good time of year to review some heating and cooling tips. There are quite a few changes you can make to contribute to efficient home heating and keep your costs down year-round. Here are some ideas:

  1. Switch Your Fans:

    As you move from the cooling season into the heating season, you'll want to reverse the direction of any ceiling fans in your home. This will cause warm air trapped along the ceiling and sides of the room to circulate better.

  2. Trust the System:

    If you have an HVAC system, it's been carefully engineered to provide heating, ventilation and air conditioning specifically for your space. Most HVAC systems use forced air ductwork (a design that actually goes back to the ancient Romans, who moved air heated in furnaces under the floor and out of wall pipes) to move heated air out of registers in each room. The other popular design includes steam or hot water from a boiler that is conducted into baseboard or freestanding radiators. If you're constantly opening and closing registers, or turning off radiators individually, you need to have your system checked for flaws or blockages. Not doing so can put stress on your system and eventually lead to expensive repairs.

  3. Make the Most of Other Heating Devices:

    There are lots of home activities that produce heat, so it makes sense to take advantage of them. For example, cook with the oven in the winter, instead of the microwave (reversing that advice for summertime). If your home is well insulated, you might be surprised at how much of that heat you can trap.

  4. Adjust the Thermostat Wisely:

    Programming your thermostat to maintain a lower temperature when you're out of the house or tucked under your covers can save you quite a bit on your utility bill. Beware, though, of continually turning the heat up and down by more than 10 degrees; some experts believe that the energy needed to bring your home back up to temperature will end up costing you more than maintaining a roughly even temperature when you're leaving for a relatively short period of time.

  5. Get Regular Maintenance:

    Of all the heating and cooling tips floating around online, this is the most important: Don't neglect preventive maintenance. Having regular furnace and air conditioning inspections in season, as well as changing filters at the recommended intervals, is absolutely vital to the health of your HVAC system. Heating and cooling equipment is expensive, and fixing a broken unit will cost much more than the nominal costs of maintenance. Getting an HVAC inspection can also give you peace of mind so that you won't be scrambling to find an electrician in the middle of a winter snowstorm when your heat pump suddenly fails.

Are there any other heating and cooling tips you can share? Join the discussion in the comments.

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