Make Energy Efficiency a Top Priority in 2011
Each year around this time, millions of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, and other things to improve their health. But how many of us make New Year's resolutions to improve their homes...or save money on their heating and cooling costs? Not many.
The Horizon Comfort Zone doesn't want you to give up those health-related New Year’s Resolutions -- they're great! But why not sweeten the mix by focusing on your home heating and cooling system and overall energy usage, too? Energy-Efficient New Year's Resolutions are not only good for the environment, they're good for your wallet. PLUS -- they're pretty easy resolutions to do and keep...a lot easier than avoiding food, cigarettes and alcohol!
Here are some great energy efficient New Year's resolutions you should consider making for 2011:
- Change Your Furnace or Air Conditioning Filter: Dirty filters impede air flow and make your furnace or air conditioner work harder. This increases your energy consumption, as well as the likelihood of furnace or air conditioner breakdowns. Be sure to check your filters monthly. Replace or clean them according to the schedule recommended by your HVAC service technician or by the manufacturer -- for most heating and air conditioning systems during peak season, that's about once a month.
- Go Digital with a Programmable Thermostat: Why waste energy heating or cooling your home when you are not there? With a programmable thermostat, you can pre-set the times and temperatures in which your heater or air conditioner will run. According to industry experts, a programmable thermostat can save you as much as $200 per year in energy costs.
- Buy a Fan: Fans can help circulate warm or cool air evenly throughout rooms or even entire floors of your house. This reduces a lot of wear and tear on your heater or air conditioner.
- Consider Zoned Heating: Why heat or cool rooms or floors if you're not in them? With a zoned heating/cooling system, you can send heated or cooled air where you want it. No heat or air conditioning is wasted. And the energy savings can be huge.
- Seal Air Leaks: Feel a draft around doors, windows or vents? If so, you could be leaking warm or cool air. That's money out the door for nothing. And as a result of the leak, you are probably running your heater or air conditioner more than you need to; that's adding wear and tear to your heating and cooling system. Check out your local hardware store for caulk, tape and other sealants that you can use to seal leaks around your house. It's a very quick, easy and inexpensive fix and it can save you big bucks in energy costs.
- Stop Blocking Registers and Vents: Check around your house to see if your registers and vents are blocked by furniture and other obstructions If so, you are wasting heat and air conditioning. Move these items aways from vents and registers so you can fill your rooms with more warm air in winter and more cool, air conditioned air in summer.
- Get a Tune-Up: It makes sense to get your car tuned up periodically and inspected once a year. Doesn't it make sense to do the same for your heating and cooling system? Regular tune ups and maintenance are the easiest and most important things you can do to guarantee that your heater or air conditioner performs at peak efficiency and doesn't break down at an inopportune time. Tune ups can extend the life of your heater or air conditioner, too. Don't be one of those procrastinators who say they'll wait till next year to get a tune up...have your HVAC system checked at least annually...starting THIS YEAR!
- Upgrade to a More Modern Heating & Cooling System: Make this the year you get rid of that old clunker of a heater and that rusty bucket-of-bolts you call an air conditioner! Today's technologically advanced heating and cooling systems are a far cry better than the heaters and air conditioners made just a decade ago. They perform at much higher energy efficiency levels. They provide more comfortable heating and cooling. The last longer. They require fewer repairs. And they're a better value: they generally pay for themselves in energy savings in just a few years. Tax breaks, rebates, manufacturer discounts and other incentives make them a better buy today than ever before.
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