Heating and Cooling Tips
WBIR Ask Todd
Segment: Why does the personal comfort temperature inside my home vary between summer and winter?
In addition to the money-saving tips in this section, KUB customers have two other great options to learn how to conserve energy and save money:
Take advantage of a free online energy audit through the TVA energy right ® Program. The online audit offers extensive information on efficient products, as well as calculators for finding your potential savings.
Make an appointment for an In-Home Energy Evaluation. Just call the TVA energy right ® Program toll free at 1-866-441-1430 to make an appointment. A TVA Certified Energy Advisor will do a visual inspection of your home from the attic to the basement. The advisor will make recommendations based specifically on your home and energy usage history.
At the time of the audit, the advisor will collect a $150 fee. Your fee will be refunded if you make at least $150 in qualifying energy-conservation improvements based on the audit report. You can also earn a cash incentive for half the cost of the qualified improvements, up to a $500 maximum. (You can receive both the refund and the $500 incentive for quality improvements, for a total of $650.)
Set Your Thermostat on Savings
The first step in saving money with heating and cooling is to set your thermostat for savings. KUB recommends a setting of 78 in the summer and a maximum of 68 in the winter. Each degree change saves you 1 percent on your heating or cooling bill.
- Try wearing extra layers in the winter and thinner, loose-fitting fabrics in the summer to stay comfortable without having to adjust the thermostat.
- Consider a programmable thermostat to customize the settings to your schedule. It can pay for itself in two years and continue to save you money in the future. You can change your thermostat manually as well. Just be sure that you don't turn a heat pump's thermostat back up by more than three degrees at a time to avoid reheating with expensive auxiliary heat -- unless you have a newer programmable thermostat that doesn't use auxiliary heat to re-heat. However, lowering your gas heat's thermostat 5 degrees can have a big impact.
- Set your thermostat higher or shut the unit off (depending on your unit, plants, pets, etc.) if you'll be out of town in the summer. If you'll be out of town in the winter, setting the thermostat at 55 degrees will keep the pipes from freezing. When you return, don't turn a heat pump's thermostat back up by more than three degrees at a time to avoid reheating with auxiliary heat.
Keeping Your Building Sealed
- Keep all doors and windows closed when the heat or air conditioning is on. On mild days, turn off the AC or heat, and open some windows!
- Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilation fans sparingly. In just an hour, they can vent a houseful of heated or cooled air.
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside, keeping out the extra moisture and heat.
- Insulate, insulate, insulate!! Seal any openings around your doors and windows. Increase the efficiency of insulation around walls, floors, and ceilings. Energy Star offers many resources, including a Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Sealing .
Heating and Cooling Equipment
- Replace filters and keep your heating and air conditioning equipment clean and well maintained. Ask a service representative how to increase efficiency.
- Keep all your vents clear and free from obstruction.
- Purchase the most energy efficient system you can afford when you are in the market for a new heating or cooling system. Estimate how long you will use the system and factor the energy savings over the unit's lifetime into the decision.