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3 Easy Ways to Cut Heating and Cooling Costs

by Daniel Estevao on February 24, 2017


how to cut reduce HVAC costs - 3 easy ways

Who doesn’t want to save money and energy? Here are 3 of the easiest (and cheapest) ways you can make your home more efficient and cut heating and cooling costs all year.

If you go over these simple steps, you can easily cut your annual HVAC bill by up to 50%! That translates to hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket and a lot less energy waste. There’s no excuse! Let’s get started.

3 Easy Ways to Cut HVAC Costs  & What You’ll Save

1. Set Your Thermostat Correctly

Savings = 5-15%

One easy way to save around 5-15% on your annual heating and cooling costs is to schedule your thermostat strategically.

Check your current thermostat settings and compare them against the chart below:

how to set your programmable thermostat
Source: ENERGY STAR (PDF)

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.”

If you are leaving the home for vacation, don’t turn off the heating or cooling! We recommend that you never lower the temperature below 55°F in the winter or raise it above 89°F in the summer. This helps prevent frozen pipes, warped wood, and damaged appliances and electronics.

You may also need improvements to your humidity control. Give Pacific Air Systems a call if you have any questions about humidification systems or programmable and smart thermostats. 

2. Change Air Filters

Savings = 5-15%

You may be surprised how much of an impact a clean air filter has on your energy costs and indoor comfort. A dirty air filter impedes airflow and makes your HVAC system work a lot harder than it should. If you have a clogged air filter, the system may turn itself off to protect its inner workings.

If your heating or air conditioning won’t turn on, it could be because of a dirty air filter. In addition to keeping your HVAC system properly functioning, here are some other benefits of a clean air filter:

  1. Less energy used (restricted airflow causes HVAC unit to work harder)
  2. Cleaner indoor air (air filters trap allergens and indoor contaminants—dirty air filters spread these pollutants throughout your home and HVAC system)
  3. Less maintenance. Less repairs. Longer lifespan. (clean filters prevent the buildup of dust that can lead to expensive HVAC repairs and premature failure).

Air Filtration Tips:

  • Check your air filter every 30 days. Don’t wait more than 3 months to change the filter. Follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Change your air filter if it’s dirty (hold up the air filter to a light source; if light cannot pass through, change the filter).
  • Always have backup filters in supply.
  • Write the date of replacement on the air filter itself. That way, you know exactly how long it’s been since your last replacement.
  • Schedule professional heating maintenance every fall and air conditioning maintenance every spring.
  • Do not use low-efficiency filters (MERV 1-6). Make sure your air filter has minimum MERV rating of 7. Higher efficiency air filters (MERV 14-20) could have a detrimental impact by restricting airflow. Contact your local HVAC company for advice on the proper MERV rating for your HVAC system. If you want HEPA filtration, your HVAC system will most likely need professional modifications. Learn more about air filtration options and types.

Learn How to Change a Furnace Filter

If you are unhappy with the quality of your indoor air, you could benefit from a better air filtration system. Contact Pacific Air Systems to discuss your air filtration options.

3. Reduce drafts and improve insulation. 

Savings = up to 30%

Improving the insulation around your home can be a very time-intensive project, but it’s well worth it. Sealing air leaks and drafts will help save you money in the winter and the summer by reducing the amount of heat transfer in the home. These insulation improvements can save you up to 30% a year on HVAC costs!

You may want to work with a contractor for certain insulation projects such as basement, attic, and ductwork insulation. Another way to cut back on the time spent finding and sealing air leaks is to schedule a home energy audit. Your energy auditor will conduct a blower door test to find all the air leaks in your home.

Other air-sealing projects, however, are easy to do yourself. Click here for a DIY Home Energy Audit Guide.

Here are some tips for reducing drafts and air leaks in the home:

  • Inspect the whole home for air leaks including the duct system, attic, basement, and crawlspace. For tips on finding and sealing air leaks consult A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Sealing and Insulation with Energy Star.
  • Speak with a professional HVAC technician about your home’s insulation and ventilation balance. Your technician will evaluate the system’s supply and return air balance and make any necessary adjustments.
  • If you decide to seal your air ducts yourself, don’t use Duct Tape! We recommend sealing all leaks and duct connections with mastic sealant (aluminum foil tape may also be used). Learn how to seal air ducts here.
  • Click here to learn how to find and seal air leaks around the home.

WARNING: Too much insulation can lead to problems. If you make significant insulation improvements, make sure you contact your local HVAC contractor to evaluate your insulation and ventilation levels.

Additional Energy-Saving Tips:


Pacific Air Systems offers year-round, 24/7 HVAC service.

Contact Pacific Air Systems Heating & Cooling at (253) 292-3995 for book your appointment online!

Since 1984, we’ve been proudly serving our communities in Federal Way, Graham, Spanaway, University Place, Steilacoom, Sumner, Lakewood, Puyallup, Tacoma and Gig Harbor.

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