You receive your utility bill for the month, and your heart drops. How could it be higher than last month? Many homeowners in St. Louis are tired of high utility costs. But it may be their own bad habits that are to blame. Ditch the bad habits that are cutting energy efficiency and raising your utility costs, and you’ll also enjoy a healthier, more comfortable home. Here are some of the bad habits that may be contributing to your high utility costs:

Cooling Inefficiently

The amount of your energy costs is largely dependent on how efficiently you run your home. The less energy efficiency in your HVAC system and in the rest of your living space, the harder the system must work to maintain comfort.

One of the most inefficient things you can do is force your air conditioner to keep the home far cooler than it is outside. The further the temperature inside your home is from the temperature outside, the harder you push the system, and thus the higher the costs.

Instead of pushing the system as hard as you can, try to keep your thermostat settings a little higher, preferably around 77 degrees in the summer. It sounds warm. But if you want to cut your utility costs, you can find other ways to stay cool, such as installing ceiling fans.

Welcoming Energy Vampires

When it comes to maintaining an energy-efficient home, habits you didn’t even know you had can be just as dangerous as the ones you’re aware of. For example, you may have no idea that even when you turn off your electronics, they’re still sapping electricity. As long as they’re plugged in, electronics and small appliances will suck energy, creating a phenomenon we call vampire energy.

If you want to put a stop to vampire energy, plug your electronics into a power strip. Turn it off when you’re finished with your tech. That will cut the power flow to all your devices at the same time and prevent you from losing money.

Skipping Regular Maintenance

Without a little help, your air conditioner will not operate as efficiently as it should. As your heating and cooling unit works to keep your home comfortable, its components wear and sometimes break. Without regular professional maintenance, that disrepair can lead to worse damage, higher utility costs and lower efficiency.

At least twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall, schedule a professional maintenance appointment. During these appointments, a professional HVAC service technician will inspect your system, clean it and conduct any necessary repairs. This maintenance keeps small problems from becoming expensive issues.

In addition to scheduling professional maintenance twice a year, you should also make a habit of completing simple HVAC maintenance tasks. Once every 30 to 90 days, replace your system’s air filter. You should also clean around your system.

Ignoring Air Leaks

Maybe you noticed that light shining between your front door and doorframe a few months ago. But you’ve just been too busy to take care of it. Unfortunately, even a narrow gap like that could be contributing to your high utility costs.

Air leaks allow conditioned air to escape your home and warm air to enter. That transfer makes your home less comfortable and forces your system to work harder to compensate for the interference.

Keep air where it belongs by sealing air leaks quickly. Use weatherstripping to cover leaks around your doors, and use caulk to fix air leaks around your windows. If you have an unfinished area of your home, such as an attic without insulation, install some to make it more difficult for extra heat to enter your home.

Energy efficiency is a delicate thing. It doesn’t take much for efficiency in your home to drop and for utility costs to rise. A few bad habits can damage more than your wallet; the same things that lead to high utility costs are also likely harming your HVAC system. Cut your bad habits and improve your HVAC efficiency by calling Averill Heating & Air Conditioning at (314) 427-3825.

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