A central heating and air conditioning system provides many advantages, including comfortable temperatures all year round. Medical studies even suggest that air conditioning and ventilation can even play a role in better health and lead to longer lives.
Those advantages, however, don’t come without a cost. The average price of a central AC unit is between $2,000 and $10,000, according to HomeAdvisors.com, and Americans then spend an average of $1,000 each year on heating and cooling. Here are some ways to make the most of your investment and keep your ongoing costs low — without sacrificing comfort.
Here are some tips for reducing your heating bill in the winter:
- Get it installed properly:
Making sure your system is properly installed by an expert will ensure your furnace, ducts and registers are placed correctly for maximum efficiency.
- Don’t block the heat:
Make sure you don’t have furniture blocking any of the vents, preventing the heat from circulating properly.
- Use a programmable thermostat:
There’s no reason to have the heat turned up when you’re snuggled under the covers with a hot water bottle at night. Setting your thermostat to automatically manage your temperature means you never need to think about it.
- Change your filter:
The money spent on changing your furnace filter regularly pales in comparison to what you’ll end up paying in the wake of a blocked filter.
- Get inspections:
If your heat isn’t working like it should, get a professional to inspect it. There could be something wrong with your system, and that could cost a lot more down the road.
Summer may seem far away, but here are some tips for reducing your cooling bill in the summer:
- Get it installed properly:
Yes, this is the same advice for cooling as for heating; it’s so important it bears repeating.
- Use fans wisely:
Combining ceiling or box fans with your central AC system may allow for better air flow. Just be sure to consult with your cooling specialist to make sure you’re not being counterproductive, since modern cooling systems are carefully designed with air flow in mind.
- Produce less heat:
Try to avoid hot showers or recipes that require baking in the oven. If you must do these things, try to contain the heat to one area and use a fan or the kitchen exhaust.
- Shade your home:
This is a long-term strategy and not a quick fix, but having shade trees around your house can prevent the sun from beating down. Choose leafy trees and plants close to the exterior. In the meantime, use films or solar screens on your windows.
- Avoid the need for air conditioning repair:
Air conditioning repair can be expensive. Change your filters regularly, try not to use opening and closing your registers to control temperature distribution (this can place a strain on the system) and call a specialist if you notice any sudden changes in how your air conditioning is working. If you don’t know when to change the air conditioning air filter, check with the company who installed your system.