Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Get the Most out of your HVAC System

Here are a few tips on what you can do around your house to optimize your heating / cooilng system and increase the comfort inside your home.


  • Set the thermostat high during hot weather while you're away from the home to reduce energy use.
  • Light-colored roof shingles reflect more of the sun's heat
  • Close your blinds or drapes to block the sunlight during the hottest part of the day.
  • Install awnings over windows exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Run kitchen and bath exhaust fansat a minimum.
  • Don't place lamps, TV sets or other heat-producing devices beneath a wall-mounted thermostat. Rising heat from that equipment may cause the air conditioning system to overcool your house.


  • Put your thermostat on an inside wall away from windows and doors.
  • Set the thermostat low but at a comfortable level. Each degree over 68°F can add 3% to the amount of energy you need to heat the home.
  • Lower the thermostat a degree or two when expecting a large group of guests. They'll warm up the house with their body heat.


  • The single most important step in conserving energy is good insulation. Thermal insulation should be specified in terms of thermal resistance (R-values). R-30 (10") is recommended for ceilings, and R-11 (3-1/2”) for exterior walls and floors over unheated areas.
  • Humidity is your heating and air conditioning system's worst enemy and could account for 15% to 30% of air conditioning energy requirements. Find the places where air can sneak into the home and plug them with caulking, weather-stripping or plastic. Also, weather-strip and caulk around all entrance doors and windows.
  • Cut heat transfer through your windows by 40% to 50% with double-glazing (two panes of glass separated by a sealed air space).
  • Establish a habit of keeping your windows and doors closed as often as possible.
  • Make sure fireplaces have tight-fitting dampers, which can be closed when the fireplace is not in use. Invest in a humidifier to conserve energy in winter. The air in your home won't be as dry, so you stay comfortable at a lower temperature setting.