Heating & cooling
Heating and cooling is responsible for as much as 43% of your home's energy use, so it is important to know that your system is efficient.
The three most common heating sources are natural gas, oil and electricity. If your home is using an oil or electric system, you may wish to consider a conversion to natural gas for greater energy efficiency. Oil to gas conversion can be relatively simple if gas is available on your street. Electricity- to-gas can be more challenging, if duct work is not already in place.
For information about switching to natural gas: www.pse.com/solutions/foryourhome/Pages/ChoosingNatGas.aspx
Another option offering greater efficiency is geothermal heat pumps. Geothermal Heat Pumps provide heating, cooling and hot water by tapping natural resources underground to access the earth's relatively constant temperature. While initial installation can be costly, systems are durable and highly efficient. www.energysavers.gov/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12640
While solar panels offer high efficiency in many areas, in Western Washington due to weather, solar does not yet provide a complete substitute for more traditional heating and cooling systems. Solar is an excellent supplement with which to reduce energy consumption.
For more information on energy efficient heating and cooling: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/heating_cooling.html
Seal your ducts
If ducts are leaking, heated or cooled air can be forced out of unsealed joints and lost. In the summer, hot attic air can be drawn in, increasing the load on the air conditioner. In the winter, your furnace will have to work longer to keep your house comfortable. Either way, your energy losses cost you money.
Although minor duct repairs are easy to make, ducts in unconditioned (unheated/uncooled) spaces should be sealed and insulated by qualified professionals using appropriate sealing materials. Here are a few simple tips to help with minor duct repairs.