Take These Simple Steps to Get the Most out of Your Home’s Energy Efficiency 04/20/2017Regularly having your HVAC system cleaned and tuned up could improve its performance and help lower your energy costs because an HVAC system that’s taken care of can use a great deal less energy than one that is not. But what else could you do? We’ve got more simple steps you can perform to improve your Pinellas County home’s energy efficiency. Seal any leaks around your windows and doors. Add caulk or weatherstripping at the locations you find leaks. Insulate your walls and attic. You may equate insulation with keeping your house warm in the winter, but it also helps in the summer. When it’s hot outside, heat is steadily seeking cooler places—like your home. Ensure you have sufficient insulation to keep the heat from flowing through your attic and walls and decreasing your home comfort. Have your ducts cleaned. Clean ducts make it easier for air to flow through your home, which makes your air conditioner’s job easier. While you’re at it, ensure your ducts are properly sealed to avoid air leaks and insulate them if needed. If the ducts are leaking, you’re losing valuable heated or cooled air. Properly sealing and insulating ducts is even more necessary if they are situated in the attic, a vented crawlspace or any other unconditioned area. Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible during the summer. To help possibly keep your cooling bill lower, keep the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures as low as possible. According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by easily turning your thermostat back 7° to 10°F from its usual setting for 8 hours a day. If you use a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioner, you can raise your thermostat setting by about 4°F without negatively affecting your comfort. Install a programmable thermostat. Sure, thermostats can be adjusted physically, but programmable thermostats make managing your home comfort and efficiency so easy. You can automatically adjust your temperature when you’re away from home or when you’re sleeping while avoiding discomfort because your home’s temperature will return to normal before you get home or wake up. If you decide not to use a programmable thermostat, avoid setting your thermostat at a colder-than-usual setting when you turn on your air conditioner. Your house won’t cool down any faster and will only cost you extra money in energy. Don’t place lamps, TV sets or other heat-generating appliances by your thermostat. This practice can force your air conditioner to run longer than needed because your thermostat senses heat from these appliances and thinks your home needs cooled. [Use|Utilize|Take advantage of]54] your windows. If it’s cooler at night, turn off your AC and open the windows. Shut the windows and your curtains or blinds in the morning to trap the cooler air and to prevent heat gain through the windows. Invest in new, energy-efficient equipment. If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not matching with your home-comfort needs, call Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc for an assessment. It may 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’ve got more questions about how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, think it might be time for more energy-efficient equipment or simply want to schedule a regular maintenance appointment, call Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc at 727-398-5515 and our experts will help. If it’s simpler, schedule your appointment online using our online scheduler.