Every family faces the challenges of staying within the confines of their budget. With heating and cooling costs, that can be a real challenge. The average US family spends over $2,000 a year on their home utility bills.
It makes sense to be looking for ways to trim that cost down as much as possible.
Like your car, your house, even your health, your HVAC needs to care and maintenance. It might be time to take the time to give your systems some care in an effort to get more HVAC energy efficiency.
Read on to learn some ways you can achieve HVAC efficiency to save money.
Understanding Your HVAC System
In order to best get your system at optimal efficiency, first, you have to know a little about it. Both the system you have and how you maintain it will factor in its efficiency.
You can look at the SEER (Season Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating on your unit. SEER measures in BTUs (British Thermal Units) the amount of cooling produced by your unit. The higher the number the higher the efficiency of your unit.
Your unit might also have an EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. This tells the energy efficiency of your unit from when it was tested inside a lab, without the effects of seasonal conditions.
Learning about your unit is an important part of the process of gaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system. Consider the professional ratings, age, and maintenance to garner a better understanding.
With that information, consider these 11 ways to achieve better HVAC energy efficiency.
1. Programmable Controls and Thermostat
If you don't already have a programmable thermostat, you need one. A new programmable thermostat is an inexpensive investment for significant savings.
Start to take advantage of all your thermostat can do for you by controlling the temperatures and when your system runs. Save up to 15% in costs by adjusting the temperatures for the 8 hours a day that you are gone from home for work.
We live in a world with smartphones. There are now programmable thermostats that you can control from your smartphone. If your schedule is not always set, this allows you to adjust temperatures when you are away, but also tweak them before you arrive back home.
2. Schedule Regular Maintenance
Just like your car, your HVAC system needs regular check-ups to run at its most efficient. By having your unit checked regularly, you can avoid expensive and surprise repairs.
Your system gets cleaned and checked to make sure it is running optimally.
It is recommended you have the regular maintenance twice a year, in the fall and spring are good times before extreme heat or cold hit in the summer and winter. The technician can check your system. They can clean coils, check fluids, and change your filter.
3. Change Air Filters
While a routine maintenance check will change your filters for you. This is also something you can do for yourself.
Your air filters play an important role in your HVAC system. They work to trap dust particles from being pushed through the air. This also means they can be filled up with dirt and dust.
When the air filter is filled with dirt and dust, the air can't flow through them. This causes your system to run more to try to achieve the desired temperature.
Making sure you have clean air filters by routinely changing them is an inexpensive and easy way to achieve more HVAC energy efficiency.
4. Check Airflow
This is another easy and inexpensive way to make sure you are getting maximum efficiency from your HVAC unit.
First, check all-around your unit. Make sure it is clear from debris like leaves and brush. The more easily air reaches the unit, the more efficiently it runs.
Inside, make sure your vents are clear of dust. Also, make sure you don't have furniture on top of vents or blocking vents. This prevents air from moving in the room causing the HVAC system to work harder to achieve the desired temperature.
Often registers are near windows where there might be curtains. Make sure you don't have window treatments blocking the airflow from your vents.
5. Tweak Your Thermostat
This is a hard one for some folks. The thought of going one degree warmer in the hot summer gets them resisting. But the truth is you hardly notice one degree when it changes outside.
We are not suggesting you make drastic changes in the settings on your thermostat all at once. Do this gradually. In the winter, instead of 72 degrees, lower your thermostat to 71 degrees. Get used to the change. Then try again and go one degree lower.
One or two degrees of change on your thermostat can make a big difference over time.
The same is true when it's hot outside. Adjusting your thermostat up a degree or two will allow your system to not work so hard to achieve that temperature. Over time, that can be big savings.
6. Power Down Electronics
This might sound insignificant but it can make a difference in a few ways. Consider powering down and unplugging your electronics when not in use.
Things like laptops, phone chargers, exercise equipment all draw energy. When you unplug, they stop pulling energy for use and you save money.
There is another benefit for your HVAC unit when they are unplugged and powered down. Believe it or not, they throw off heat when they have power. By powering down, they are no longer giving off heat into your rooms.
It means your system has less to work against and you save money over time.
7. Consider When to Use Your Dryer and Stove
You know you never want to cook over a hot stove when it's blistering hot outside. This is because your stove gives off heat. This doesn't exactly get you out of cooking dinner. But think about how to not use your stove, and especially your oven, during the hottest part of the day.
Also, consider not using your dryer during the hottest part of the day. Your dryer draws in the warm air while it's running. This heats up your space forcing your unit to work harder to maintain a cooler temperature.
8. Take A Close Look At Your Ductwork
Your HVAC system uses the ductwork in your home to deliver heating and cooling. If there is a problem in the ductwork, then you lose precious heated or cooled air.
Make sure your ducts are clean of debris. You can vacuum out vent openings. You can also have a professional come in to clean your ductwork.
You should also check to be sure there are no leaks in your ductwork. Any leak allows precious air from your HVAC unit to escape. Look at the joints and junctions where the ducts meet up. Check for air coming from these. You can purchase a vent tape or spray to seal the ducts.
Professional heating and cooling specialists can also come in and audit your ductwork for problem areas.
9. Insulate More
While this may not be something you can do yourself, over time adding insulation to your home can mean big savings.
When you add insulation in your attic, for example, you prevent the warm air that rises from escaping. The insulation acts like a coat for your home's roof and walls.
It prevents the heat or cool air from escaping by trapping the air inside.
One thing a home energy audit will do is to look at your insulation and evaluate places where you can add more to achieve more efficiency.
10. Let Your Curtains and Blinds Help Your HVAC System
You already have them dressing your windows. Why not use your curtains and blinds to help your HVAC system.
In the heat of summer, close your blinds or curtains. This prevents the heat from the sun from entering your home through the windows. This heat, once inside, just causes your systems to work harder.
Likewise, in the winter, the sun, even if it's cold outside, can help to bring in some heat. If your windows are not sealed well, you can also use the blinds and curtains to block that air from outside from coming into your room.
11. HVAC Unit
It was already mentioned that it's important to clear away leaves and debris from around your HVAC unit.
Let's go one step further. Consider trimming any plants around the unit to make sure they are not interfering with airflow around the unit.
You might not have had any control over where your unit was installed. But consider whether there is a way to provide some shade over your unit. The hot, beating sun on your unit heats it up. This just makes it work harder. In extreme heat, it could also overheat.
Use HVAC Energy Efficiency in Your Home
Consider trying one or more of these ways to achieve maximum HVAC energy efficiency for your home. Many of them are things you can try yourself for a very low cost that result in savings over time.
If you are ready to make an investment in newer and more energy-efficient HVAC equipment, we can help with that too. Give us a call today to set up a time to hear about your options for a new HVAC system that can result in big savings in the long run.