Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) comprise, on average, around 25 percent of a typical household’s energy costs. Your proportion may be much greater, depending on your climate. And most homes are ineffi­cient in terms of insulation properties, so there is a lot of wasted energy. By changing a few habits and making some inexpensive modifications, you can save a lot of money.

Keeping your coot as you change temp control habits

By simply altering the way you run your equipment, you can save money on energy costs. Habits die hard, it’s true. But you’ll find that these changes won’t be nearly as hard as, say, eating much less, or exercising much more.

Make sure your registers flow freely. How much junk can fall through and create air dams is amazing. Children’s toys are prime candidates.

You can hurt your heat pump if all the registers in your house are shut off. What’s the point?

^ Close off unused rooms. You can do so by either closing the registers (or turning off the valve if you have a radiator) or by closing the door to that room.

^ Cut your use of exhaust fans. When you run bathroom or kitchen

exhaust fans while your HVAC is working, you’re pulling the conditioned air from your home and forcing it outside. This air needs to be replen­ished somehow. You draw in hot or cold air through leaks, and the HVAC system needs to work a lot harder than necessary.

Do you really need to use that exhaust fan? If so, crack open a nearby window to minimize the wasted energy. After you’re done using the fan, close the window again.

image053Sometimes in bathrooms the exhaust fan is connected to the light, and whenever you turn the light on the fan is also on. Face it: There’s only one good reason to use an exhaust fan in a bathroom. Yes, you know when. The rest of the time it’s a waste (no pun intended). You can also put an exhaust fan in with its own switch, maybe even remotely con­trolled. Ask at your friendly hardware store for the different options.

^ Use dehumidifiers in hot climates. Dehumidifiers make a room feel better on your skin, so you can turn the temperature up while retaining the same comfort level.

^ Always use efficient fans even when the air conditioner is on. Moving air makes you feel better, so you can dial up the temperature in the room and get the same effect.

^ Keep fireplace dampers and flues tightly closed when not in use. Not

just seasonally, but all the time. If you’re only using your fireplace on the weekends, close it up the rest of the time.

Updated: August 2, 2015 — 10:29 am