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Money-Saving Tips... Were you shocked when you saw your recent utility bill? You weren’t alone. So you are probably asking the same question we hear from many homeowners: “How can I lower my utility bills?” Do you remember the record high and low temperatures we had throughout much of the United States in 2011 and 2012? This resulted in higher energy bills for many. The average American family spends about $1,600 per year on energy costs. However these increasing costs can be counteracted by taking some simple, common sense steps. So what can you do? Your HVAC system accounts for probably half of your yearly energy usage. So your first step should be to hire a certified HVAC technician twice a year to do a system tune-up; once before the weather gets too cold, and again before it gets too hot. At Ackerman Heating and Air our technicians are trained to inspect your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems and the ductwork. These tune-ups can increase the efficiency of your system by up to twenty percent. Increased efficiency means lower utility bills! Give us a call now at 410 404 8247 to schedule a visit. But after taking this important step many homeowners still ask: “How can I lower my utility bills even more?” A good place to start is to cut down on drafts by installing weather stripping around windows and doors and also adding door sweeps. These are inexpensive but can keep out up to fifteen percent of unwanted winter cold, or unwanted summer heat. This means your system doesn’t have to work so hard and use so much energy to keep your house comfortable. Another simple step is to inspect the insulation in your home. Does it have enough? Does it have any? Energy efficient insulation, such as cellulose, can be easily installed in the ceiling, attic and walls of existing homes. The better your home’s insulation, the less energy is needed to heat or cool your home, which will lower your utility bills. Want another simple suggestion? Try turning off and unplugging unused devices, chargers, and electrical appliances. Believe it or not, electricity used by devices in ‘stand-by’ mode accounts for five to ten percent of the average yearly residential energy consumption. If you are still wondering about lowering your utility bills, the answer can often be found in alternative energy sources such as Geothermal or Solar. Installing such systems can have a high upfront cost, but the long-term savings in reduced energy consumption is an attractive advantage. You, as a homeowner, can research and select companies that install geothermal or solar equipment. Alternative energy sources can give you freedom from relying on the volatile prices of oil, gas and coal.So start by scheduling a system tune-up. But then, whether you take some simple steps with immediate results, or decide to invest an alternative energy system with great long-term results, the above suggestions can really help you and anyone that asks: “How can I lower my utility bills?” Do you have any other suggestions? We'd love to hear what you think. What have you found helpful for keeping your utility bills down?