Category Archives: Blog

Spring and Summer Energy-Saving Tips

Category : Blog

Here you’ll find strategies to help you save energy during the spring and summer when the weather is warm and you are trying to keep your home cool. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the spring and summer. For more ways to stay cool while saving energy, check out our Energy Saver 101 infographic, covering everything you need to know about home cooling.

If you haven’t already, conduct an energy audit to find out where you can save the most.

Also check out tips to save energy during the fall and winter.

Use Your Windows to Gain Cool Air and Keep Out Heat

  • If you live in a climate where it cools off at night, turn off your cooling system and open your windows while sleeping. When you wake in the morning, shut the windows and blinds to capture the cool air.
  • Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through your windows.

Operate Your Thermostat Efficiently

  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
  • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.

Use Fans and Ventilation Strategies to Cool Your Home

Photo of a ceiling fan in motion.

  • If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.
  • Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
  • When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside (not just to the attic).

Keep Your Cooling System Running Efficiently

Photo of an HVAC professional performing maintenance on an outdoor air conditioning unit.

  • Schedule regular maintenance for your cooling equipment.
  • Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • Vacuum registers regularly to remove any dust buildup. Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.

Don’t Heat Your Home with Appliances and Lighting

  • On hot days, avoid using the oven; cook on the stove, use a microwave oven, or grill outside.
  • Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat.
  • Take advantage of daylight instead of artificial lighting, but avoid direct sunlight.
    • Learn more about strategies for efficient daylighting.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. Consider air drying both dishes and clothing.
  • Take short showers instead of baths.
  • Minimize activities that generate a lot of heat, such as running a computer, burning open flames, running a dishwasher, and using hot devices such as curling irons or hair dryers. Even stereos and televisions will add some heat to your home.

Keep Hot Air from Leaking Into Your Home

Lower Your Water Heating Costs

Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home.

  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands.

Heating & Air Tips & FAQ’s

Category : Blog

As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling.
No matter what kind of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling, and reduce environmental emissions, from 20% to 50%.

Heating Tips

    • Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.
    • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
    • Bleed trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if in doubt about how to perform this task, call a professional.
    • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
    • During the heating season, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Cooling Tips

    • During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.
    • Make sure all vents are open and unblocked.
    • Keep interior doors open to create air flow in the house; make sure all external doors and windows are shut tightly to keep cool air inside.

Long-Term Savings Tips

  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
    • A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
  • Change your air filter regularly
    • Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool — wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.
  • Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage.
    • For furnaces, look for high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. The national minimum is 78% AFUE, but there are ENERGY STAR models on the market that exceed 90% AFUE.
    • For air conditioners, look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The current minimum is 13 SEER for central air conditioners. ENERGY STAR models are 14 SEER or more.                                                                                                                                                                 (energy.gov)
  • Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment.
    • If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by nearly $200. But before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your HVAC equipment.
  • Ask about proper installation of your new equipment
    • Replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with new, energy-efficient models is a great start. But to make sure that you get the best performance, the new equipment must be properly installed. In fact, improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30 percent — costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment’s life.                                                                                                                        (Energy Star)

9 Tips to Keep Your Heating & Cooling Budget Energy Efficient!

Category : Blog

1. Not all heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment is equal. As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your home’s HVAC system can have a big effect on your utility bills—and your comfort.

2. Heating and cooling costs account for nearly half the home’s total energy bill. If your central air conditioning unit is more than 10 years old, replacing it with an ENERGY STAR® certified, high-efficiency model could cut your cooling costs by 30 percent.

3. ENERGY STAR certified central air conditioners have a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) than standard models, which makes them about 14% more efficient than standard models. The higher the SEER, the greater the efficiency. Since sizing and proper installation of a central air conditioning system are critical to energy efficiency and home comfort, it is important to hire a qualified technician.

4. Heat pumps qualified for the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program® have a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) than standard models, which makes them about 8% percent more efficient than standard new models and 20% more efficient than what you may already have in your home.

5. Natural gas furnaces qualified for the BGE rebates have annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 92%, or higher, making them up to 15% more efficient than standard models. One in four furnaces in U.S. homes today is more than 20 years old. BGE qualified natural gas furnaces use advanced technology to deliver higher efficiency than standard new furnaces available today.

6. High-efficiency heating and cooling equipment qualified for the BGE rebate meet or exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® requirements for product efficiency.

7. When is it time to replace your central heating and cooling system?

  • When your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are increasing.
  • When your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old. Consider replacing it with a newer, more energy efficient equipment that meets the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program rebate efficiency levels
  • When your furnace is more than 15 years old. Consider replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient furnace that meets the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program rebate efficiency levels.

8. Although these products can be more expensive to purchase up front, the cost difference will be paid back over time through lower energy bills. Be sure to ask your contractor about BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program Heating & Cooling Rebates which can significantly help reduce the difference in price between standard and high efficiency products.

9. Proper maintenance can go a long way in preventing future heating and cooling system problems. Ask your contractor about annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors often get very busy during summer and winter months, so it’s a good idea to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall.


FREE Consultation