Aug 24 2016

You can save energy and lower the utility bills for your Allentown, Virginia, home with simple home improvements. Making your home more efficient keeps your home more comfortable and helps the environment by reducing pollution. It also lets you use your HVAC system less, which extends its life. Here are four of the best energy-saving improvements.

Installing a Programmable Thermostat

With a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the temperature at scheduled times to avoid wasting energy. Set it to turn down the heat in winter and raise the temperature in summer when you’re at work or asleep. You can also set it to return your home to a more pleasant temperature about half an hour before you come home or wake up. That way, your home will be comfortable when you spend time there, and you’ll save energy.

Many programmable thermostats will let you set a different schedule for every day of the week and vacations, and some have a hygrometer to measure the humidity in your home. You can control some models from your computer, tablet, or smartphone as well. Some thermostats can also control different areas or zones. This lets you avoid heating or cooling unoccupied areas and keep every member of your family comfortable. Zoning saves the most energy with homes that are large or have more than one story.

Adding a Dehumidifier

High humidity makes your home feel hot and clammy. A dehumidifier makes you feel cooler so you can use your air conditioner less and save energy. It also prevents mold growth, and pests. Portable dehumidifiers work well for smaller areas like bathrooms or basements. They’re relatively inexpensive, and you don’t have to install anything. Another option is attaching a whole-home dehumidifier directly to your ductwork to remove moisture from your entire home.

To keep moisture levels in your home as low as possible, check your roof and your plumbing for leaks regularly and look for trouble signs like soft wood floors or stains on ceilings or walls. When you cook or take a shower, use the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms. Make sure the ducts go to the outside of your home, not to your basement or attic.

Sealing Your Ductwork

Leaks in your ductwork make your HVAC system less efficient, causing high utility bills and warm or cold areas in your home. They also let dust and dirt into your ducts and keep your air filter from working properly. This lowers your indoor air quality and can make asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems worse. Check the ductwork in your basement or attic for holes, spaces between the joints, bent or crimped areas, and gaps in the insulation. Check your home’s exterior for leaks as well for even more savings and better indoor air quality.

You can use duct sealant, also called mastic, or metal-backed or foil tape to seal small leaks in accessible areas. Wrap more insulation around your ducts where it’s missing or thin. Parts of many duct systems are behind walls or in crawl spaces, so you could have trouble finding every leak. If you don’t notice lower utility bills or a more comfortable home after you seal your ductwork, contact a professional to inspect and seal every part of your duct system.

Adding Landscaping

Trees make your home cooler on sunny days, and attractive landscaping can even increase the value of your home. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in fall, so the sun can still pass through the bare branches, and make your home warmer. Build an awning or fence close to your HVAC unit to cut energy consumption in summer and keep your system from working as hard, so it lasts longer. An awning or fence also protects your outdoor HVAC unit from leaves, branches, grass clippings, or other debris that could lower its efficiency or cause an expensive, inconvenient breakdown.

Sullivan Oil and Propane is a factory-authorized contractor for Carrier and Mitsubishi Electric with over 20 years of experience. We can help you with all your heating and air conditioning needs. Call us anytime at 610-813-6555 for excellent service.

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