By Dayna Hottle
With higher energy costs driving up electric bills, many homeowners are feeling the pinch from their own home comfort systems as they try to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Heating costs have risen by as much as 8% in Detroit since last winter and nearly half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling.
There are some smart decisions homeowners can make about their home’s HVAC systems and water and electrical usage that will not only make their home’s comfort systems more environmentally friendly, but will also help reduce their utility costs.
These tips include:
- Replacing HVAC system. Homeowners with HVAC systems that are more than 15 years old should consider replacing their system with a newer, more energy-efficient model.
- Maintaining their newer HVAC system. If the system is still relatively new, homeowners should have their HVAC system tuned up at least once a year to help save on utility bills. Just as a tune-up improves your vehicle’s gas mileage, a yearly tune-up can increase your heating and cooling system’s efficiency.
- Changing the HVAC system filter regularly. A dirty filter can cause the system to perform poorly. Changing the filter based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, or more often if the system runs more frequently, can improve the heating and cooling system’s efficiency.
- Using low–flow showerheads and toilets. Homeowners can limit their water use by installing low-flow showerheads and toilets. Low-flow showerheads use 60% less water a month while low-flow toilets save nearly 13,000 gallons of water per year.
- Purchasing energy–efficient appliances. Replacing older refrigerators, ovens, washing machines and dishwashers with ENERGY STAR-approved appliances can also help homeowners save on their utility bills.
- Installing a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat “learns” your family’s habits and can raise and lower the temperature when you are home or sleeping so that energy isn’t wasted when you are away.
- Sealing your ductwork. As your ductwork ages, it can start to leak, which is a huge energy waster. Sealing and insulating your ductwork can improve the efficiency of a home’s heating and cooling system by as much as 20%.
- Switching to LED lighting. LED bulbs not only use up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, they also last longer. LEDs now come in cool and warm shades and offer as much variety as their incandescent counterparts.
Some of these tips may require homeowners to spend more money initially since replacing an HVAC system or purchasing new appliances doesn’t come cheap, but if your system or appliances are already old, you probably will have to replace them soon, anyway. And, because homeowners are aware of this obsolescence, they may have already set aside money to make these purchases.
If your goal, however, is to be more eco-friendly or to simply save on your utility bill, making some or all of these changes can help you achieve those objectives.
Dayna Hottle is the general manager of C & C Heating & Air Conditioning in the greater Detroit area. Her family has owned and operated C & C since 1948 when her grandfather started the company. Hottle got her start in the skilled trades by working in the C & C office before leaving for Albion College. Upon receiving her economics degree, she returned to C & C in 2005 and worked to improve the company’s call center and customer service as the operations manager. She has served as the general manager for the HVAC company since January 2022.
Amber is the proud mother to four beautiful children, Damian (27), Rosaleigh (14), Carlyn (11), and Naomi (8). Her family also includes four cats.
She loves being a stay-at-home mom and feels blessed to be able to care for her children full-time and provide them with so many opportunities through Metro Detroit Mommy. In addition to Metro Detroit Mommy, Amber has a passion for hosting karaoke with Malibu Entertainment. She enjoys the metro Detroit nightlife especially, singing, dancing and meeting new people.