For many, heating and cooling bills are one of the most costly monthly expenses. Air conditioners already use about 5% of all electricity produced in the U.S. as it is, and improper use of your HVAC system as a whole can make your utility bills skyrocket. Here are some simple and effective dos and don’ts to keep in mind to improve your home’s energy efficiency and save on utility costs.

    • DO: Consider a ceiling fan

      A ceiling fan can help cool air circulate through your home without expending quite as much power. In fact, ceiling fans allow the thermostat to be set to higher temperatures while keeping you comfortable at the same time. But don’t forget to turn it off before you leave the room — ceiling fans cool people, not rooms.

    • DON’T: Leave your air conditioning on when you leave the house

      It’s important to realize that your air conditioning doesn’t need to be on all the time just because you want it cool when you come home. says, “Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting to 78 degrees only when you are at home and need cooling. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.” It’s true — there are a wide variety of programmable thermostats that allow you to set timers for when to turn on and off your heating and air conditioning.

    • DO: Make sure your system is installed properly

      Believe it or not, improper HVAC installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30% — costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment’s life. It’s always best to leave it to a professional and never attempt to install it yourself.

    • DON’T: Overwork your system

      Your HVAC system can only work so fast, and setting it too low or too high can overwork it and shorten its life considerably. Keep this in mind and try to only adjust it a few degrees at a time.

Ultimately, these are just a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind if you want to prioritize energy-efficiency. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we’ll discuss even more energy-efficiency dos and don’ts.