Do you dread the approach of winter as far as your energy bills are concerned? If so, an energy audit is a great way to find sources of energy waste in your Montgomery, Alabama home or office so that you can start reducing those heating bills. By making smarter choices, you can bring those energy bills down, and even make your home more energy efficient in the process.

Breaking Down the Energy Bill

According to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2009 study much of our expenditure on energy goes toward heating. In the average American home, the energy usage breakdown looks something like this over the course of a year:

  • Heating accounts for 29 percent

  • Cooling – 17 percent

  • Water heating – 14 percent

  • Home appliances – 13 percent

  • Lighting needs – 12 percent

  • Electronic devices – 4 percent

  • The rest of the energy usage (about 11 percent) goes toward items such as ceiling fans, vent fans and home audio systems.

Of course, you can see that heating and cooling takes up almost half the energy usage (46 percent combined). Through an energy audit, you can evaluate your home and identify ways in which energy is being wasted, and determine how to make improvements. Some of the sources of waste are general, such as leaving equipment plugged in when they are not in use. Others are more specific to your heating system, such as identifying air leaks. Air leaks make it harder to heat your home, and your system will work harder to try to reach the right temperature. You won’t need to sacrifice indoor comfort, however, in order to reduce your heating bill.

Ways to Reduce the Costs of Heating and Cooling Your Home

You can make some adjustments to how you use energy so you can reduce energy consumption, and start saving. Simple changes can go a long way:

  • Adjusting your thermostat. You can save money for each degree lower you set the thermostat during the winter months. You can also see savings if you set the thermostat higher in the summer. A programmable thermostat makes this change automatic and means you don’t have to think about it.

  • Use the sun and curtains to your advantage. In the winter, open up the curtains on south-facing windows to let the sun shine in. This helps to warm the interior space naturally. In the summer, do the exact opposite. Keeping the curtains closed helps to keep inside temperatures cooler. This is a no-cost energy-saving option.

  • Put your filter changes on a schedule. An often forgotten task that is essential for keeping your furnace and AC working properly is changing the air filters. Check the filter and clean or replace it if needed. This also helps to improve air quality.

  • Keep the conditioned air inside, not outside. Adding insulation and blocking air leaks will help keep the hot air in during the winter and the cool air in during the summer. Make sure you have adequate insulation in the attic, walls and floor space. Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible.

  • Upgrade older units. Older furnaces use more energy than newer systems. If your furnace is nearing the end of its useful life, you may need to replace it. That is the time to select Energy Star labeled units. These products are more energy efficient and designed to maximize savings. Even the most energy-efficient equipment won’t make a huge difference if other areas in your home or system are contributing to energy waste. Have your HVAC contractor check other parts of the system such as your vents and ducts to make sure they are in good shape.

  • Bring in a professional. Routine maintenance keeps furnaces working efficiently. Having an annual check-up will help keep equipment performing well and using less energy. Your HVAC technician will check the system through and through and resolve any issues that might affect performance.

  • A professional too can conduct a more detailed energy audit so that you can save even more. When you reduce energy use, you will save money on your energy bills. For more information on ways you can save energy, contact Air Conditioning by Luquire at 334-230-5870.

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