4 ideas to lower your heating and cooling bills

July 27, 2015

These are some easy and inexpensive ways you can cut the heating and cooling costs in your home.

4 ideas to lower your heating and cooling bills

1. Get a programmable thermostat

  • A programmable thermostat can help you trim your utility bills. Just adjust your home's temperature to your exact needs throughout the day.
  • For example, you can increase the heat just before you wake, cut back while you're out, increase again just before you return home and then cut back at bed time.
  • Most thermostats can be programmed for up to seven days.
  • Electronic models with digital readouts are generally more efficient and versatile than mechanical ones.
  • Make sure the unit is compatible with your heating and cooling systems.

2. Replace old heating systems

  • Replacing an old furnace with a new, energy-efficient model will almost certainly cut your energy consumption.
  • In general, older furnaces consume a lot of fuel and require frequent repairs. But if your furnace still works well, your savings in fuel bills could be negated by the expense of the replacement.
  • Before replacing your old furnace, have it checked by a service technician. If the firebox is sound, you may want to consider having the furnace serviced instead.

3. Add window film

  • Energy-efficient windows have special coatings that block and reflect heat.
  • If you can't afford to replace your windows, you can install low-E film on the interior of your existing windows. These will give you some of the benefits of new, energy efficient windows.
  • Most low-E films today require professional installation to stop discolouration, bubbling and peeling.
  • Most low-E films last five years, but are relatively easy to replace.

4. Grab your biggest fans

  • Don't underestimate the cooling power of fans, especially on warm, dry days when the house is stuffy.
  • Even several fans running at once use only a fraction of the power consumed by a central air conditioning system.
  • Use inexpensive box fans to circulate air through your house.
  • Note the direction of the prevailing winds and position the fans in windows — one blowing in and one blowing out — to assist the wind.
  • A ceiling fan placed over your bed can keep you comfortable at night by continuously circulating air.
  • A whole-house fan will keep air moving throughout the house, pulling in cooler air from below and releasing hot air above.

Whether it's the dead of winter or the height of summer, many homeowners can't seem to get a break on their utility bills. But even if you're just improving what you have, there's plenty of little things you can do to cut costs and save money.

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