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Heat Pumps - What you should know

12/14/2012

You use more energy in your home for heating and cooling than anything else. Here are some basic tips that can help you stay comfortable and lower energy costs:

  • Ducts can be a particularly energy expensive problem. Check them out.
  • Keep heating and air conditioning filters clean. It's difficult to force air through dirty filters. It takes more energy and can raise your energy bills.
  • Keep your thermostat set on 78° in summer and 68° in winter. For every degree you raise or lower the setting, you can see a difference of up to 3% in energy costs.
  • If you have a furnace, you can save money by lowering your thermostat 5° before you go to bed at night. When no one is home, set it back to 55° degrees. The more often you can set back the temperature for 8 hours or longer, the more energy and money you'll save.
  • If you have a heat pump, do not set your thermostat back during heating season. Just find a comfortable setting and leave it there. Lowering the setting on a heat pump system will cause the backup heat to come on when it's raised in the morning. Backup heat uses a lot more energy than the normal heat mode, meaning you'll waste more energy than you may have saved during the night.
  • Protect your thermostat from drafts so your heating system turns on only when you need extra warmth.
  • Replace your old thermostat with a newer clock model. These new devices can be set to automatically lower temperature at bedtime and raise them again in the morning. If you have a heat pump, select an automatic setback thermostat specifically designed to work with heat pump systems.
  • Schedule annual maintenance check-ups for your heating and cooling systems. By keeping your system in optimal working condition, you'll not only reduce energy costs, but extend your system's service life.
  • Trim or remove grass, weeds, leaves, etc. from around the outdoor unit of your heating or cooling system. When airflow is blocked, it puts a strain on the system and lowers efficiency.
  • Shade room air conditioners from direct sun to reduce their workload. Clean the filters once a month and replace them as necessary to promote energy efficiency. Lower the setting when you go out to reduce operating costs.

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