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Serving Madison, Waunakee, Middleton & Surrounding Areas

(608) 767-2689
Serving Madison, Waunakee, Middleton & Surrounding Areas
You Worked Hard for Your Money. Modern Heating & Cooling Wants You to Keep More of It!
(608) 767-2689

Heating & Cooling Tips

Heating Tips: Furnace and Boilers
  • Change your furnace filter once a month (or every 6-12 months if you have a SpaceGuard-type filter). Dust and dirt can quickly clog vital parts, making your furnace run harder and eventually break down.
  • Have your heating system inspected regularly, especially if it is natural gas. An annual tune-up can reduce your heating use by up to five percent.
  • If you have a forced air furnace, do NOT close off heat registers in unused rooms. Your furnace is designed to heat a specific square footage of space and can’t sense a register is closed – it will continue working at the same pace. Plus, the cold air from unheated rooms can escape into the rest of the house, and condensation can develop on windows and walls.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. If you use it to set back the temperature by 10 degrees for eight hours every night, you will lower your heating use by up to 10 percent. A digital thermostat can pay itself off in less than a year.
  • Don’t set the thermostat higher than you actually want it. It won’t heat your house any faster, and it will keep your furnace running longer than necessary.
  • Vacuum registers and vents regularly, and don’t let furniture and drapes block the air flow.
  • Avoid covering radiators with screens or blocking them with furniture.
  • Keep furniture and draperies away from the heaters, and leave at least a three-inch clearance under the heating unit if your home has electric baseboard heating.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed at night to keep cold air out, but open them during the day to let the sun warm the room.
  • Avoid using supplemental space heaters, including electric, kerosene or propane models. Not only are they inefficient and expensive to operate, they are also very dangerous.
  • Add area rugs to keep your feet warm if you have hardwood or tile floors.
  • Lower the thermostat to 55 degrees when you go on vacation. This will save energy while preventing water pipes from freezing.
Cooling Advice
  • Madison Gas & Electric and Alliant Energy recommend setting thermostats at 78 degrees for cooling. We find most people set their thermostats between 75 and 78 degrees.
  • Operating the system during the day then turning the unit off at night and opening windows will cost you more to operate. When you open windows, you allow moisture to dampen carpet, furniture, beds, drapes and other items. 40 percent of the operation cost of A/C is to remove moisture. If you run the A/C during the day, keep windows closed at night.
  • A properly designed system will drop indoor temperature by one to three degrees per hour. An oversized system that cools down too fast will not properly remove moisture. Your home will feel clammy. Air conditioners operate more efficiently the longer they run continuously and are sized so they don’t turn on and off frequently.
  • Do not use expensive pleated furnace air filters purchased from hardware stores, as they may restrict air flow. Use either the $1.00 standard air filter or purchase from a HVAC contractor a high-efficiency SpaceGuard (Aprilaire) filter.
  • Furnace air filters are used for both heating and cooling. Check your filters monthly and replace if necessary.
  • Do not place items which generate heat such as lamps, computers, TVs or fish tanks under the thermostat. If direct sunlight from windows hits your thermostat you may have to relocate the thermostat.
  • We recommend constant fan operation to circulate, filter and mix the air. This will cost you virtually no money if you have a variable-speed blower motor. Contact us for details.
  • Close drapes on the sunny side of the house.
  • Have your heating and cooling system checked by a qualified technician on a yearly basis. One well-placed shade tree can reduce your cooling costs by 25 percent. For maximum benefit, place leafy shade trees to the south and west, and evergreens to the north.
  • During late afternoon and early evening, turn off unnecessary lights and wait to use heat-producing appliances. It’s also a good idea to shade south- and west-facing windows during the hottest part of the day.
  • Keep plantings at least a foot and half away for adequate airflow.
  • Use ceiling and box fans to help circulate air throughout the house, and make sure your attic is properly ventilated. In the summer, use a ceiling fan to blow air down and create a wind-chill effect. In the winter, reverse the fan to circulate warmed air near the ceiling throughout the rest of the room.
  • Set the fan on your central air conditioner to “on” rather than “auto” function. This will circulate air continuously, keeping the temperature more even throughout the house and aiding in dehumidification.
  • If you use a window air conditioner, make sure it’s the proper size. It’s better to get one that’s too small rather than too large. A larger unit will start up and turn off more frequently and won’t do as good a job dehumidifying the air.
  • Raise the thermostat to about 78 to 80 degrees when you go to bed or leave the house. A programmable thermostat will do this for you automatically.
  • If your home can’t accommodate central air conditioning, try a whole-house attic fan. This device pushes hot air out through attic vents, lowering the temperature throughout your home about five degrees in less than 10 minutes. Attic fans cost about five cents per hour to operate.