Tips to Save some Change as the Seasons Change
If you’ve lived in the River Valley any time at all, you know that the weather can change at a moment’s notice. The first week of February I was running my air conditioner, yet two weeks later it was snowing outside. It’s certainly true around here that if you don’t like the weather just wait a couple of days and it’ll change.
With the month of March usually comes some consistent daytime highs in the 60’s. As you start to switch over to cooling, I thought I’d give a few tips on how to save some money on your cooling bills this summer.
#1 – Install a Programmable Thermostat
This one is easy, and many homeowners can tackle this task on their own. (Here’s a tip within a tip: make sure you turn off power to the furnace before changing the thermostat.) Program the thermostat for 5 degrees warmer for time periods you are away from home. Experts say using a programmable thermostat can save you $150 per year on utility bills. If you don’t like the idea of having to program a complex thermostat, check out the Nest thermostat. It learns your daily habits and makes the adjustments for you.
#2 – Change your Air Filter
This is the best do-it-yourself thing you can do for your heating and cooling system. A clean system runs more efficiently and breaks down less often. I can’t tell you how many times we are called to a customer’s uncomfortable home to find that the only thing wrong is a clogged filter.
#3 – Consider a High Efficiency Air Conditioner
If you’re existing air conditioner is more than 15 years old, you should really start to think about investing in a new one. After being missing in action for a year, the federal tax credits are back for certain air conditioners that meeting minimum efficiency requirements. These systems remained popular even without the tax credits in 2012, so we believe they will be even more so in 2013 when customers realize that Uncle Sam will help pay a portion of the bill.
I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention having a tune-up done by a professional air conditioning technician. A professional technician can clean your system, properly adjust your freon, flush the drain line, and check a number of other things that will save you money on both utility and repair bills. Routine maintenance should be performed on all systems whether they are new or old. In fact, the manufacturers tell us that they reserve the right to refuse warranty coverage if routine maintenance isn’t performed. Your heating and cooling system is one of the most significant home investments you’ll make – make sure it lasts as long as possible by taking care of it on an annual basis.