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By Colin Martodam, regional manager of ARS

April 20, 2013 (San Diego) – In honor of this year’s Earth Day on April 22, take action to make your home a hub of energy-efficient practices. “Going green” is no longer just the catch phrase of environmental advocates, celebrities and politicians.  Now, you and your neighbors are empowered to make environmentally friendly changes to your home to address the growing concerns of a shaky economy, increasing energy costs, and our ever-dwindling natural resources.

With these simple steps for making your home more energy-efficient, you can significantly reduce your monthly utility bills and your home’s carbon footprint, while keeping our planet in mind this Earth Day.

Tune up your system. It’s important to routinely service your air conditioning system;  a tuned-up system will run more efficiently, lower your energy costs and last longer. Have an HVAC professional tune up your unit at least twice a year to ensure your system continues to run smoothly. Most importantly, a tuned up system will ensure that you, your family and the environment are reaping the benefits of the clean air inside your home.

Keep your filters clean. Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause your HVAC system to work overtime, increasing unnecessary energy use.  By replacing your filters at least four times per year, you can save money on energy bills and help avoid costly system repairs or replacement. Where a dirty, overloaded filter can become a source of air contamination in your home, a clean filter promotes a healthier living environment by improving your home’s indoor air quality.

Turn up your thermostat. While it might sound contradictory to increase your home’s indoor temperature as we approach the summer heat, a simple turn of your thermostat up 5°–10° while you’re away from home can save around 10 percent a year on your cooling bill.

Seal and insulate your ducts. Poorly planned or carelessly installed ducts can negate the energy savings and cost reductions you are counting on. Joints that aren’t sealed properly can let a lot of that precious cooled air escape. By sealing and insulating all ducts to block any air leaks, you can improve the overall efficiency of your unit and make sure you feel the comfort of your investment.

Use ceiling fans to keep cool. Using fans to circulate the cooled air inside your home is an easy energy-saving tip. You can continue to feel comfortable while cutting back on the air conditioning. Be sure to check your fans to ensure it’s going in the correct direction - your fan should be set on “forward” to feel cool, which means the blades are rotating counter-clockwise.

Invest in your future. If you are ready to make a larger commitment to living green,, then investing in an ENERGY STAR® cooling system may be your best choice. A new, high-efficiency air conditioner may reduce your energy use by up to 50 percent.  Spending a little more on a high-efficiency air conditioning system now will pay off big in the long run, not only with lower energy costs, but with less upkeep, a higher level of comfort and the reassurance that you are doing your part to protect the environment.

Energy-efficient practices not only benefit our planet, but help conserve our natural resources, in turn conserving your budget. When maintaining your home’s systems, be sure to choose an HVAC contractor who is knowledgeable about air conditioner efficiency options. You can also schedule a no-cost analysis of the benefits and savings of replacing your system with a new, high efficiency model.

ARS is an award-winning residential heating and air conditioning company in Southern California. For more tips or to make an appointment for your HVAC maintenance or service needs, visit CSLB Lic # 791820.

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