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When you live in Venice, Florida, you spend most of your annual heating and cooling budget during the summer, when you turn up the air conditioner to beat the heat. Fall brings cooler temperatures and decreased climate control needs, but you can still rack up high utility bills if you’re not careful. Save energy and keep costs low during fall and winter with these 10 smart techniques.

Insulate Your Home

One of the most inexpensive ways to save energy throughout fall and winter is also one of the easiest. Many homes in the Venice area have inadequate insulation, which leads to energy loss year round. Fortunately, you can improve your home’s insulation in two easy steps.

First, check your attic or crawl space. Most attics need 12 inches of insulation to keep warm air in and chilly winter air out. If you can see the attic joists sticking out above the insulation level, this is a sign that you need more.

Next, look for drafty areas or spots where cool outdoor air leaks in. You’ll generally find this around windows, door frames, and baseboards. Check the areas where pipes and cables enter your home from the outside, too, as these spots can also be drafty. Add weather-stripping to end drafts around doors and windows, or use caulk to seal cracks around pipes, cables, and baseboards.

Upgrade Your Windows

If weather-stripping doesn’t do enough to cut drafts around your windows, you might have a bigger problem on your hands. Single pane windows can lead to significant energy losses, while older windows can develop decay and cracks that are tough to repair. Purchasing all new windows for your home is very pricey, but replacing outdated or unfixable windows can result in lower utility bills.

When you’re shopping for new windows, keep a few things in mind. Look for windows with multiple panes, special coatings that keep heat inside in winter, and frames made with high-quality materials like fiberglass or vinyl. Also, check to make sure that any new windows have a U-factor and a solar heat gain coefficient (SGHC) that’s suitable for the Venice area.

Refresh the Lights

As the weather cools, you’ll be spending more time indoors. That means your home lighting could make a big difference when it comes to your utility bill. New energy efficiency standards for light bulbs came out in 2012, but if you haven’t made the switch to the new ones yet, you’re not alone. Since you can save up to $75 per year by using new bulbs, this is a switch you’ll want to make.

Identify the five light fixtures you use the most, and replace the old bulbs with new halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Most of the new energy-efficient light bulbs last 10 to 25 times longer than their predecessors, and they use just a fraction of the energy.

Circulate Warm Air

Not ready to turn on your heating system just yet? Save money and energy by turning on your ceiling fans instead. Make sure to reverse the direction that you use during the summer, though. Since warm air rises naturally, switch your ceiling fans to a clockwise direction. That helps to move warm air down and redistribute it throughout the room.

Schedule HVAC Maintenance

To stay cozy and warm in your home throughout fall and winter, you’ll need to turn on the heating system. Before you crank up the heat, though, it’s a smart idea to have your HVAC system serviced.

Schedule a heating system tune-up with Aqua Plumbing and Air, and you might be surprised at how efficiently your heat pump or furnace runs throughout the fall and winter. During a standard maintenance session, our technicians will change the air filter, clean the system’s interior and exterior, check electrical wiring or gas hookups, and make sure safety mechanisms are in place. We’ll also find small issues before they become major problems, helping you to avoid expensive repairs down the road.

Check Your Ducts

If you’ve noticed steadily increasing utility bills over the past several months or if you’ve found that some rooms in your home are always too cold or too hot, you could benefit from a duct inspection. Most ductwork develops cracks, leaks, and holes over time, especially if you don’t have custom ductwork. A few cracks here and there might not be cause for concern, but some leaky ducts can lose up to 30 percent of the air that your HVAC system generates. That equals significant energy loss and unnecessarily high utility bills.

Our team of HVAC experts can inspect your ducts, find cracks and leaks, and help you save on energy costs. Our duct cleaning services also make sure that your heating system runs efficiently and keeps your indoor air quality high throughout the heating season.

Clean Up Your Indoor Air

Poor indoor air quality can result from dirty ducts, but it’s also caused by high humidity, insufficient ventilation, and excessive indoor pollution. While you might think of bad indoor air as a health concern, it’s also an energy issue.

After all, poor air quality causes your HVAC system to work harder, which costs you more and can lead to system breakdowns. Whether you need a whole-house dehumidifier, an energy-recovery ventilator, or an air purifier, our team has the indoor air quality solution you need to lower your energy consumption.

Update Your Thermostat

Thermostat technology has advanced in a big way over the past few years, and updating your old device can lead to real savings. Invest in a smart thermostat, and program it to heat your house only when the family is around. Use your smart device to connect to your smart thermostat, and adjust the HVAC settings from anywhere in the world. Check the thermostat’s energy reports, and use past results to help you save even more energy and money in the future.

Go Tankless

If your family relies on a conventional water heater, you could be wasting both water and energy every month. Conventional water heaters have tanks that store several gallons of water. These appliances keep water warm around the clock so you can have enough hot water for a shower, a dish washing session, or a load of laundry at a moment’s notice. That means they offer ample convenience but poor energy efficiency.

In contrast, tankless water heaters produce hot water on demand. They don’t store water in tanks, which means they don’t waste energy keeping water warm for hours on end. If your old water heater has started to leak, make loud noises, or show other signs of impending failure, consider replacing it with one of our cost-effective tankless water heaters.

Plan Ahead for the Next Cooling Season

Lowering your utility costs isn’t just a one-time thing. To optimize your household energy spending, you’ll need to plan and do long-term budgeting.

For example, think ahead to the next cooling season, which will be here before you know it. Will your current cooling system last through the season, or would your family be better off with a new air conditioner? If you decide now, you can start setting aside funds and budgeting for the project now instead worrying about financing.

If you’re concerned about the price of a new air conditioner, take into account the energy and utility costs you can save with a new system. If your air conditioner is more than a decade old, it likely has outdated technology that makes your household less efficient overall. In fact, replacing a decade-old air conditioner with one of our efficient new models could help you save as much as 40 percent of your cooling costs.

As any of our cooling experts can tell you, the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating is important for choosing a cost-effective model. Look for an air conditioner with Energy Star certification and a SEER rating of 15 or higher to save both energy and money during the cooling season.

From HVAC maintenance to air conditioners to indoor air quality solutions, we have the energy-saving components your home needs. Call Aqua Plumbing and Air to start saving money and energy today: 941-306-3715.

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