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    It's estimated that as much as half of the energy you use in your home goes to heating and cooling. So keeping your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system tuned is very important. It's also one of the easiest projects to do. You don't need experience. You don't need tools. All you need is a telephone to contact your local contractor.

    There are two reasons why we suggest hiring a professional to help you with this project. First, it can be dangerous. Depending on your equipment, it can involve working with electricity, gas, and/or hazardous material. Second, if you don't tune up your system properly, you'll pay for your mistakes in higher energy bills. So a find the company that's right for you and give them a phone call at least once a year.

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Hire the Right Professional

If you don't already have a contractor in mind, TXU Energy would be happy to recommend one. Just go to the Home Energy Professionals page to view a list of professionals that we've carefully selected because they provide a consistent level of quality in their products and services. Be sure to also ask them about any rebates that might be available

Go Over Your Checklist

Talk to your heating and cooling company before and after the inspection. Let them know that you're an informed consumer and that there are certain things you want checked. In fact, the Department of Energy has created a list of what a maintenance tune-up should include. Print it out and go over it with the technician before work begins.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you don't already have a programmable thermostat, you should consider asking your contractor to install one. The fact is, you can save up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs by simply turning your thermostat back 10 to 15% for 8 hours a day. What's more, there are several programmable thermostats that make this a simple and automated task, including the TXU iThermostat that you can control from your computer or any Web-connected device.

Inspect and Replace Your Air Filters

The basic function of your filters is to reduce the dust, dirt, and other air pollutants in your home. But if you don't check and replace them regularly, they get clogged and make your HVAC system work harder. This results in higher energy costs, and it could also result in expensive repair work. So check your filters once a month and replace them as needed. And for those filters that are designed to be cleaned and reused, be sure to follow all the manufacturer's instructions.