The unpredictable temperatures in the St. Louis area, caused by various conflicting weather patterns, mean that Missourians are running either heat or air conditioning most of the year in order to keep comfortable inside. Increasingly, whole-home HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems are replacing old radiators and window units; the HVAC industry has grown over 4% every year for the last five years.
Even with these newer, more efficient systems, indoor climate control doesn’t come without a price. Here are some tips for keeping the costs of heating and cooling in St. Louis reasonable:
Reducing Air Conditioning Costs in Summer
- Plant Trees Appropriately:Planting leafy trees around the perimeter of your home can reduce the heat created by light shining onto your roof and walls and through your windows. Just be careful to plant the right kinds of trees so you don’t have to deal with tree roots wreaking havoc on your foundation down the road.
- Use Fans Wisely:HVAC units are carefully designed and installed to be as efficient as possible. But you can ask your HVAC specialist to advise you on fan use. Ceiling fans and box fans, used appropriately, can circulate cool air more quickly, putting less strain on your AC unit.
- Have Regular Cleanings:HVAC systems are more efficient in the long run, but they require professional maintenance. Since much of the ductwork isn’t easily accessible, you’ll want to schedule yearly cleanings. This upfront cost is nothing compared to air conditioning repair — and a well maintained unit can last 15 years — so consider it an investment.
Reducing Heating Costs in Winter
- Use Thermal Curtains:Simply buying dark thermal curtains can prevent your heat from escaping out your windows. And since such curtains aren’t very expensive, you’ll get a good return on your investment.
- Don’t Mess With Registers:You shouldn’t be controlling heat by opening and closing registers; closing more than 20% of your system’s registers places strain on the HVAC unit. If the heat in your home is uneven, you should call an HVAC specialist for an assessment.
- Get Regular Furnace Inspections:Of course, there’s an upfront cost associated with getting an inspection. But it’s far more affordable than having your furnace break when it’s 10 below and then scrambling to find heating and cooling companies that provide emergency furnace repair services.
What do you think of the costs of heating and cooling in St. Louis? What kind of system do you use in your home? Share in the comments.