As any homeowner probably knows by now, a large portion of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Maintaining smart choices about your home’s heating, ventilating, and cooling (HVAC systems) can have a huge impact on your utility bills and your comfort. With summer soon to be upon us, take these steps to make the most out of your home’s HVAC system.

home thermostat

Change your air filter frequently

No matter the season, summer or winter, check your filter regularly. Most furnace filters require changing or cleaning every one to three months. Your furnace filter’s maintenance frequency may increase during months of heavy use.

Dirty furnace filters can block air flow. This causes your furnace to have to work harder for the same amount of heating or cooling. That means more energy use and increased costs for no increase in comfort.

Install a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat is perfect for individuals who are regularly in and out of their homes or leave on extended stays. By properly programming your thermostat to turn off your heater or air conditioner when you’re at work or not home otherwise, can save you hundreds of dollars over the year. Even an adjustment of a few degrees during hours that you’re less likely to notice (i.e. when sleeping) can save you a couple bucks each month.

Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly

A yearly tune-up of your warming and cooling framework can enhance effectiveness and comfort. Make sure that your furnace and air conditioner can serve you for years to come by implementing a bit of basic preventative maintenance each year.

Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment

It happens. Appliances age. If your furnace or air conditioner is more than 10 years old or isn’t performing at its best it may be time for an upgrade. Depending on where you live, replacing your old warming and cooling hardware with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment could cut your yearly energy bill by more than $100.

Seal your heating and cooling pipes

Ducts that move air to-and-from a constrained air heater, central air conditioner or other HVAC can often be huge energy wasters. Fixing and protecting ducts to maximize air flow can enhance the proficiency of your warming and cooling framework by as much as 20 percent.

Concentrate first on fixing ducts that go through the attic, crawlspace, unheated storm cellar, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-supported (foil) tape to seal the creases and connections of ducts. If you really want to go the extra mile, after sealing those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter.

Whether it’s summer or winter, any change of season is a great opportunity for a home energy audit. What tips do you have to save big bucks on home cooling and heating utility bills?