Take These Simple Steps to Get the Most out of Your Home’s Energy Efficiency 04/20/2017Habitually having your HVAC system cleaned and tuned up could improve its performance and help save you money because an HVAC system that’s well-maintained can use a great deal less energy than a system that is not. But what else should you do? Here are more manageable steps you can take to increase your McHenry home’s energy efficiency. Seal all leaks around your windows and doors. Put on caulk or weatherstripping at the locations you find leaks. Insulate your walls and attic. You might equate insulation with keeping your indoor space warm throughout the winter, but it also helps in the summer. When it’s hot outside, heat is continually seeking cooler places—like your home. Ensure you have sufficient insulation to keep the heat from shifting through your attic and walls and decreasing your home comfort. Have your ducts cleaned. Clean ducts make it easier for air to flow through your home, which makes your air conditioner’s job smoother. While you’re at it, ensure your ducts are properly sealed to stop air leaks and insulate them if needed. If they are leaking, you’re losing valuable heated or cooled air. Properly sealing and insulating ducts is even more necessary if they are situated in the attic, a vented crawlspace or any other unconditioned area. Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible throughout the summer. To help possibly keep your cooling bill smaller, keep the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures as little as possible. According to the Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by just turning your thermostat back 7° to 10°F from its usual setting for 8 hours a day. If you use a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioner, you can raise your thermostat setting by about 4°F without negatively impacting your comfort. Install a programmable thermostat. Sure, thermostats can be adjusted physically, but programmable thermostats make managing your home comfort and efficiency so easy. You can automatically modify your temperature when you’re away from home or when you’re sleeping while avoiding discomfort because your home’s temperature will return to normal before you come home or wake up. If you opt not to use a programmable thermostat, avoid setting your thermostat at a colder-than-usual setting when you turn on your air conditioner. Your house won’t cool down any faster and will only cost you more money in energy. Don’t place lamps, TV sets or other heat-generating appliances near your thermostat. This practice can cause your air conditioner to run longer than needed because your thermostat senses heat from these appliances and assumes your home needs cooled. [Use|Utilize|Take advantage of]54] your windows. If it’s cooler at night, turn off your AC and open the windows. Shut the windows and your curtains or blinds in the morning to trap the cooler air and to prevent heat gain through the windows. Invest in new, energy-efficient equipment. If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not meeting with your home-comfort needs, call Jett's Heating & Air Inc. for a review. It may be time to replace it with ENERGY STAR®-qualified equipment that can cut your annual energy bill by more than $115, according to energystar.gov. If you’ve got some questions about how to increase your home’s energy efficiency, think it may be time for more energy-efficient equipment or simply want to arrange a regular maintenance appointment, call Jett's Heating & Air Inc. at 815-459-4700 and our experts will help. If it’s easier, schedule your appointment online with our online scheduler.