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When it comes to lowering your monthly energy bills, focusing on ways to make your home easier to heat and cool is a savvy strategy. In the average home, heating and cooling can account for as much as half of the household’s energy usage. You don’t have to invest a lot of time or sweat equity into increasing your home’s energy efficiency, however. Here are five easy ways to make a significant dent in your home’s energy consumption easily.

1. Schedule HVAC Maintenance Service

The best way to save money on heating and cooling is to make sure that your HVAC systems are operating at peak efficiency. According to studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), properly maintained heaters and air conditioners can be up to 20 percent more efficient than neglected systems. Well-maintained HVAC systems not only last longer but also need fewer repairs, offering you long-term savings as well as lower energy bills. Enrolling in a maintenance program is the easiest way to ensure optimal HVAC performance.

2. Change the Air Filter

All of the conditioned air that enters your living spaces must first pass through an air filter. Dirty or clogged filters make your heater and air conditioner run longer to achieve desired temperatures. It’s hard to change the filter too often during peak seasons. The EPA recommends checking the air filter at least every month.

3. Have Duct work Checked for Leaks

Ducts used in forced-air heating and cooling can develop cracks and leaks over time. According to EPA data, around 20 percent of the air that passes through the average residential duct work system is lost to leaks. Because it’s critical to maintain the balance between supply and return channels for your heating and cooling, however, it’s best to leave repairs to professional HVAC providers like Stuck’s Heating & Cooling in Independence. Improper sealing can actually make systems less efficient.

4. Reduce Air Infiltration

Air leaking in and out of your home forces your heating and cooling systems to operate for longer periods of time. There are a number of easy DIY solutions that you can implement to improve the seal in your building’s envelope, including weather stripping drafty windows and using caulk to plug gaps around pipes and other conduits that pass through exterior walls.

5. Know When to Replace HVAC Equipment

Even a well-maintained heater or air conditioner can lose efficiency over time. If your HVAC system is more than ten years old, is in need of a major repair or just isn’t keeping you comfortable, it makes sense to consider a replacement. Technological advancements over the last decade have made heating and cooling systems significantly more energy efficient than older models.

Reputable HVAC companies are an excellent resource when you want quick, easy and effective solutions for rising energy bills. The best HVAC providers will place as much emphasis on energy-saving features as they do on improving your home comfort.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to manage home energy use wisely.