May 06 2015

Coastal Heating and Air Conditioning Energy AuditAnnapolis homeowners do not need to change their lifestyle or invest large amounts of money in order to save energy. Just by adding one new energy saving habit, families can have a considerable impact on the amount of energy used each month.

Heating System

  • Have the heating system inspected at least once a year by an HVAC professional. Regular maintenance, such as changing the air filter and cleaning the blower fan, can extend the life of the system and keep it running efficiently.
  • Check the air filter on the heating system monthly, and clean or replace it when necessary. A clean filter helps the HVAC system run efficiently, which saves energy and improves indoor air quality.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the temperature in your home by 10 to 15 degrees while you’re sleeping or away from home for more than a few hours. This can reduce heating costs by up to 20 percent.
  • Make sure you have enough insulation, especially if your home is older. Recommended insulation levels in the Annapolis area are R-38 to R-60 in the attic, R-25 to R-30 in the floors, and up to R-21 in the walls. Fiberglass batts can easily be used to upgrade existing attic insulation and, for existing walls, blown-in insulation can be added with minimal remodeling. When replacing siding, add foam insulation beneath the new siding to improve insulation levels further.
  • Add weatherstripping to seal drafty doors and windows, and seal non-moving portions with caulk. Use caulk or expanding foam insulation to seal around wall penetrations for pipes, electric lines, dryer vents and light fixtures. Use door sweeps to stop drafts from exterior doors, and use foam gaskets to seal the covers of interior outlets and switches.
  • Install storm windows or add transparent window film to seal drafty windows. Use heavy curtains or drapes at night to keep the heat inside, and open them during the day to let the sun warm your home, saving energy.

Cooling System

  • Have the air conditioning system inspected yearly and check the air filter at least once a month. Have the coils cleaned when necessary to improve cooling efficiency and raise the temperature while you’re asleep or away from home.
  • Open the windows and use ceiling fans and portable fans during mild weather to reduce air conditioner usage. Consider installing a whole-home ventilation system to reduce your usage further.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use. Wait until the evening when it’s cooler to take showers, cook large meals, wash dishes or do laundry to avoid adding extra heat and humidity to the air.
  • Close curtains or blinds during the day to avoid excess heat from the sun, and open them in the evening to cool your home naturally, saving energy.

Hot Water

  • Reduce the thermostat on the water heater to 120 degrees. Generally, most thermostats are factory set at a higher temperature.
  • Wash clothes in cold water when possible, and use cold water for the rinse cycle.
  • Add an insulating blanket to the water heater and make sure hot water lines in unheated areas are insulated.
  • Consider upgrading to a tankless water heater to avoid the standby heat losses of tank-based heaters.

Lighting

  • Where possible, replace standard incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED versions, which can reduce lighting costs by up to 80 percent.
  • Turn off lights that aren’t being used, and install motion-senor switches in infrequently used rooms.
  • Replace holiday lighting with energy-efficient LED strings and use timers to make sure they only operate for a few hours a night.

Appliances and Electronics

  • Avoid doing laundry or running the dishwasher with less than a full load. Line-dry clothes and use the air-dry setting for dishes.
  • Replace older appliances with Energy Star rated equivalents and choose high-efficiency front-load clothes washers.
  • Plug devices that have a constant power drain, such as phone chargers, televisions and cable boxes, into an outlet strip so that they can easily be turned off completely.
  • Shut down the computer when it’s not in use and enable its power-saving features.

For help with energy savings in your Annapolis home, call the expert HVAC team at Coastal Heating & Air and schedule a home energy audit.

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