(StatePoint) As you enjoy mild autumn weather, take time to ensure your home is equipped to handle the chilly months ahead. Following these steps will mean a more comfortable, energy-efficient winter:
• Clean your air filters monthly. Dirty filters make HVAC equipment work harder and cause more wear and tear on your system. They also increase your energy bill and reduce indoor air quality.
• Compare the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of your heating system with newer models. If it’s below 13, you may want to consider a new, more efficient system. Remember, the higher the rating, the less wasted energy for a reduced carbon footprint. Be sure to choose equipment bearing the ENERGY STAR logo. High-efficiency systems reduce your impact on the environment and can also save you money. You may also be eligible for a Federal Tax Credit if you select a qualifying model.
• Use a humidifier during colder months. It not only adds moisture to your home, it can actually make it feel warmer. In turn, you’ll be more apt to lower your thermostat, saving money and consuming less energy.
• Check and maintain your insulation. Improperly insulated walls, floors, attics, basements and crawlspaces drain away heat and can also lead to moisture imbalance. Adding weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors can also go a long way to improving your home’s insulation.
• Turn down your thermostat. Keeping your thermostat five degrees cooler can lower your heating bills without affecting your home’s comfort. Install a programmable thermostat to regulate temperatures.
• Clean the furnace area. Don’t keep chemicals or cleaning products near your heater, and don’t store anything next to it that could impede ventilation. Keep vents and returns free of obstructions. Don’t lay carpet over vents, place furniture over or in front of them, or obstruct the flow of air.
• Have a technician give your HVAC system a pre-season tune-up so that everything is running efficiently before temperatures plummet. Even the most efficient system can suffer if it’s not properly maintained. Just be sure your HVAC equipment is installed and serviced by a North American Technician Excellence (NATE)-certified HVAC technician, as they have demonstrated their knowledge of today’s increasingly sophisticated heating and cooling systems by passing a nationally recognized test developed and supported by all segments of the industry. Working with a NATE-certified technician translates to a longer life for your HVAC equipment, increased energy efficiency and fewer callbacks and warranty returns. To find a NATE-certified contractor in your area and for more HVAC tips and insights, visit https://www.natex.org.
With a few simple considerations in fall, you can reduce your home energy bill and improve your home’s comfort all winter.
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