Take These Simple Steps to Get the Most out of Your Home’s Energy Efficiency 04/20/2017Routinely having your HVAC system cleaned and tuned up may boost its performance and help lower your energy costs because an HVAC system that’s properly maintained can use a great deal less energy than an HVAC system that is not. But what else should you do? We have more simple steps you can do to revamp your Beaverton home’s energy efficiency. Seal all leaks around your windows and doors. Put on caulk or weatherstripping in the spots you find leaks. Insulate your walls and attic. You might equate insulation with keeping your indoor space warm in the winter, but it also helps in the summer. When it’s hot outside, heat is steadily seeking cooler places—like your home. Make sure you have adequate insulation to keep the heat from moving 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, make sure your ducts are properly sealed to avoid air leaks and insulate them if needed. If the ducts are leaking, that means you are losing valuable heated or cooled air. Properly sealing and insulating ducts is even more important if they are placed in the attic, a vented crawlspace or any other unconditioned area. Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible during the summer. To help possibly keep your cooling bill lower, 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 normal setting for 8 hours a day. If you utilize a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioner, you can raise your thermostat setting by about 4°F without negatively affecting your comfort. Install a programmable thermostat. Sure, thermostats can be adjusted manually, but programmable thermostats make managing your home comfort and efficiency simpler. 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 decide 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 extra money in energy. Don’t place lamps, TV sets or other heat-generating appliances near your thermostat. This practice can force your air conditioner to run longer than needed because your thermostat senses heat from these appliances and thinks 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 avoid heat gain through the windows. Invest in new, energy-efficient equipment. If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping up with your home-comfort needs, call Garoken Energy Co. Inc. for an assessment. 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 additional questions about how to enhance your home’s energy efficiency, think it may be time for more energy-efficient equipment or simply want to schedule a regular maintenance appointment, call Garoken Energy Co. Inc. at 503-848-3838 and our experts will help. If it’s easier, schedule your appointment online with our online scheduler.