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Energy Tips for Heating and Cooling Your Home – Fireplaces, Thermostats and Landscaping

There are a number of different ways you can save energy in heating and cooling your home. How you landscape the area around your house, and how you use your thermostat and fireplace, can make a significant difference in your energy use.

1. Fireplaces

To make sure you are not losing heat, close the damper when you are not using the fireplace. If you have the damper open, it is just like having a window open – warm air goes up the chimney. You can also cut heat loss when you use your fireplace by opening the dampers at the bottom of the firebox if you have them, and also by opening a nearby window about an inch. Close the doors to the room and set the thermostat between 50 and 55 degrees when a fire is going.

Also, tempered fireplace glass doors and a heat exchange system that will blow the heated air back into the room are a good idea. You should also look for grates that are C-shaped because they are more effective at drawing cool air into the fireplace and pushing warm air back into the room. You should also caulk around the hearth.

2. Thermostats

One easy way to save energy during winter is to set your thermostat as low as you can without making your home uncomfortable, and doing the reverse in summer. In winter, you can wear sweaters to help and in the summer fans will help to circulate the air to make it feel cooler.

Also, in winter, turn the thermostat down when you go to bed at night or if you leave the house for an extended period of time, and do the reverse in the summer. The recommended amount is 10 degrees below or above where you normally have it set. It may help to get a programmable thermostat, which will make the changes automatically once programmed.

If you don’t use your fireplace at all and don’t plan to, you should plug and seal the flue.

3. Landscaping

Landscaping outside can also help you to save energy inside. For example, you can plant trees or shrubs around your air conditioning unit. The shrubbery will help to shade the unit from sunlight, reducing the amount of energy needed for it to operate.

You can also put trellises with vine plants on them, such as ivy and bougainvillea, near windows to offer more shade for your house. Also, you should avoid landscaping with rock, cement or asphalt on the south or west sides of the house. These materials absorb heat, raising the temperature around the house, which then moves heat back to the house after dark.

Deciduous trees placed on the south and west sides of the house can help to cool things off in warmer weather. These are broad-leaf trees such as maple, oak and elm. Just three trees close to your home could save you from $100 up to $250 a year in your HVAC costs.

If you’d like a home inspection of your HVAC system with ideas to help you save money on your heating and AC bills, contact us here at Rescue Air Heating and Cooling. Call us at (972) 201-3253, or send us an e-mail.