Earth Month Tip of the Week: Heating and Cooling

April is Earth Month and each week we are giving you tips on how to improve your home’s energy performance. This week, we tackle half of a typical home’s energy bill, heating and cooling. Heating and cooling your home can comprise half of your home’s energy bill, but maintaining that system can save you money and improve your home’s energy performance. Here are a few things to think about when you are using your home’s heating and cooling systems.

Check for Air Leaks

One of the first steps to reducing energy waste and saving up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling bills is to check for air leaks. This will increase the comfort of your home and save you money by not letting the hot (or cold) air escape.  You can seal air leaks by caulking or installing weather stripping, you can even install an energy efficient door or storm windows.

Cherry Creek House Plan
The Cherry Creek house plan is an ENERGY STAR® rated house plan with lots of features on homeowner’s wish lists. Among the highlights in this house plan are large bedrooms with walk-in closets, secondary bedrooms with private dressing rooms and vanities, and a kitchen with an over-sized island and eating bar. This house plan also features a dining room to accommodate a large table arrangement perfect for entertaining and a see-thru fireplace that shares a wall with the living room.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are ideal for people who are away from home at set times throughout the week. A properly programmed programmable thermostat can save you about $180 a year on your energy bill.

Nest Thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat such as a Nest® can save you up to 20 percent on your energy bill. Substantial savings when you consider heating and cooling compromises half of your home’s energy costs. Their Nest Leaf™ appears when you are saving energy, so you never have to guess about your thermostat’s energy efficiency.

Clean or Change Furnace Filters

A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make your heating and cooling system work harder to keep you warm.  A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system, which can lead to expensive maintenance costs and early system failure.

Ideally you should check your filter every month, especially during the winter and summer when they are in heavy use.  At minimum your filter should be changed every three months.

Energy Demonstration Home
The Energy Demonstration Home is a two-story Craftsman home is designed with energy-efficiency in mind. The designer set out to create an energy-efficient, healthy, green home that addresses severe weather concerns that residents of the Southern states have.

Keeping your heating and cooling system maintained is a great way to save on your energy bills. Building an ENERGY STAR® rated home can also help you save on your energy bill. An ENERGY STAR® compliant home can reduce your home’s energy cost by 20 to 30 percent and The House Designers ENERGY STAR® rated house plans include all the calculations you need to meet the stringent ENERGY STAR® standards in your local area.  Browse our collection of ENERGY STAR® rated house plans and see if you can find your next green home.

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