An HVAC system on the side of a home.

Heating & Cooling Mistakes Are Costing You

Heating and cooling your home represents the bulk of your electricity bill. Knowing that, you would think that people would make themselves aware of how to use their HVAC system frugally, but most do not. Here are some common mistakes that you might be making that could be costing you a lot of money on your electric bill.

Want to cut your heating and cooling costs? You should, because your heating and cooling system is probably responsible for the bulk of the kilowatt hours that you use. Here are the biggest money mistakes that people make when using their heating and cooling system. Stop making these mistakes and start saving money.

Thinking A Lower Or higher Setting Works Faster

You get home from work and find that your home is hot so immediately you go to your thermostat and crank the thermostat down as cold as it will go. You like it at abut 72 degrees but you want to get it there faster, so you turn it down to 60. Big Mistake.

Your home HVAC setting is not like your cars. It only cools at one rate so if the temperature is 75 in your home and you want to cool it down to 72, it will take the same time whether you put the setting at 72 or 60. Setting it at 72 will just make it shut down when it reaches that temperature. Turn it down to 60 and it will keep going until it reaches that temperature. That will result in you over cooling your home and wasting  a lot of electricity.

It works the same in the winter. It only heats at one rate too so turning your thermostat higher than you ultimately want it will only result in wasted money when it keeps heating your home past where you want it.

When setting your thermostat, set it to where you want the temperature to be, not as high or as low as it will go.

Not Changing Your Air Filter Enough

Most systems will require you to change your air filter once a month and this is a very important step that many people put off.

When your air filter becomes clogged, it reduces the flow of air through the vents. This means that your HVAC system will have to run longer to move enough air to get your home to the correct temperature. Longer run time means more electricity will be used and more money wasted. It also is a much bigger strain on your system and could eventually cause premature failure of HVAC parts.

Clean your air filter at least once a month but possibly more. Some filters may clog faster so you need to check what your system needs. If you have pets or your return vents are near dustier locations, it could clog faster.

Using A Cheap Air Filter

Since we are talking about air filters, let’s address the quality of your air filters.

If you have ever shopped for them, you know that there is quite a range of filters available. A single filter can cost anywhere from $3 to $20 for the one inch variety. The thicker 3 to 4 inch filters can cost even more.

If you are a frugal person, the temptation might be to buy the cheaper filter to save money but this might not be the best option. A cheap filter will save you money at first but it can cost you a fortune in the future because it does not filter as well. Much of the dust that it is letting through is going to settle on your air conditioner coils. This is going to reduce the efficiency and cause your system to eventually have to work harder to cool your home.

Instead of choosing the cheapest filter, choose a mid grade one. Make sure it has a pleated filter media which will give it more surface area for flow and to trap contaminants.

Not Performing Regular Maintenance

Your HVAC system is one of the most complicated and most expensive ones in your home. It represents a significant investment and is not something that you want to have to replace before its time.

Routine maintenance will catch problems while they are small, before they become more costly. It will also keep your system running at peak efficiency, saving you money each and every month.

An annual HVAC checkup will pay for itself in longer system life and efficiency.

Making Your Home Too Warm Or Cool

You are probably sick of seeing this trick but it is the easiest way to save money on your heating and cooling costs. Set your thermostat a few degrees higher in the Summer and a few degrees cooler in the Winter.

Doing this alone can save you 10 to 20 percent on your heating and cooling costs.

To make up for the difference, use fans in the Summer months. Moving air will make your home feel cooler by wicking heat away from your body. In the Winter, where a sweatshirt or some warm socks to keep your heat in.

Not Using A Programmable Thermostat

You do not have to go out and buy one of those $200 thermostats, the $30 models work just as well. You just have to take the time to learn them and set them correctly.

It is a myth that it costs less to keep your home a constant temperature than it does to heat it or cool it when you get home. Heating and cooling costs are wasted when you are away.

Set your thermostat to start cooling or heating your home an hour before you expect to be back and have it stop when you leave. On Winter evenings, have it cooler at night and set it to heat in the morning. You will sleep better and save a lot of money.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.