Arlington, VA

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

1. Replace Your HVAC Filter (And Wear a Mask in Public): Your air filter is the access point for your HVAC system’s air flow, and the place that filters your home from allergens and dirt particles. If you don’t replace your air filter, it clogs up with excess dust. This reduces airflow, or increases resistance, which puts strain on your heating and cooling system. Replace your filter at least quarterly to make sure it’s not too dirty, or subscribe to a filter delivery service for a monthly reminder.

2. Let the Sun in: Leave south-facing blinds open during sunny days and close them at night to lock the heat in. The sun will give you free heating during the day.

3. Thermostat Setting: You can save energy and money by only running your furnace when you are home. Turn your thermostat down when you leave or get a motion sensing thermostat that automatically changes the temperature.

4. Air Flow: If your couch or other items are positioned to block your heating unit or vent, it reduces the amount of air flow. This makes your mechanical system work harder and it takes longer to heat your home. Let the air flow and make sure the vents are clear.

5. Ceiling Fan Setting: Have you ever noticed the switch on your ceiling fan? Your fan should push air down during warm summer months of the year and draw it up during the winter to help create a more even temperature year-round.

6. LED Light Bulbs: LED light bulbs are still the easiest way to save energy and the prices have come way down. They also last longer and use a fraction of the energy compared to incandescents. LED bulbs come in an array of colors and can be dimmed. Swap out your standard bulbs for LED ones to reduce energy costs.

7. High-Performance Showerhead: WaterSense rated showerheads are the way to go. They are tested for performance. They reduce energy used associated with hot water as well as water and sewer costs. If you can’t install one yourself, talk to your landlord or apartment manager about having one installed.

Disclaimer: Your utility savings depends on what is or is not included in your rental agreement or HOA dues. Every action makes a difference.

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