Keeping your home filled with quality air can be difficult. In many instances where a home is over a few decades old, air easily escapes through walls, the roof, through windows, and the foundation. Once it does escape, your HVAC system kicks on and starts heating or cooling more air for your home — which directly costs you more money.

Without a proper HVAC system working in tandem with a well-insulated home, energy efficiency can plummet by as much as 30%. This costs the homeowner more on utility bills and potentially shortens the equipment’s life by a great deal.

In order to avoid sticky situations like these, suggests having professional HVAC maintenance done twice a year — once before heating season and once before cooling season. This allows HVAC professionals to assess how well your home’s air system is at both its main functions, as well as measuring any potential loss in efficacy over time.

Many of the systems of yesteryear are less efficient than their modern day counterparts. A few decades ago, new installations were about 78% efficient, whereas today’s models are capable of achieving 97% efficiency. Gaining a perfect efficiency score is technically impossible outside of a vacuum, so 97% is quite high.

Getting a handle on these situations can also be helpful to the environment. If you live in a cold climate, then merely upgrading the furnace in your home can improve efficiency by anywhere between 50% and 90%. A jump of this size will save the average homeowner 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually if they’re heating with gas. They can expect to get an additional ton out of that figure if they heat their properties with oil.

If you or a homeowner you know is looking to cut costs on their energy bills, consider taking a look at your HVAC system, or letting a professional do so. They’ll be able to determine whether or not you’re paying to heat up your home, or if you’re paying to let warm air out of the sides and top of your home.