How to Lower Your Energy Costs With Regular HVAC Maintenance

With the goal of both limiting carbon footprints and minimizing utility bills, home heating and cooling equipment is becoming increasingly energy-efficient. By investing in the latest and best-rated HVAC systems, homeowners should be able to maintain enjoyable living environments without having to spend veritable fortunes in the process. Unfortunately, however, even the very top HVAC designs are guaranteed to overwork and underperform when they aren’t properly cared for. With the maintenance strategies below, it’s possible for consumers to get more from their heating and cooling systems while paying less to keep their living environments at a comfortable temperature and humidity levels. Here are some tips to lower your energy costs of HVAC:

Check For And Seal All Air Leaks


Air leaks are among the most common causes of home energy loss. Unless a building is airtight, drafts can offset the heating and cooling power of HVAC systems, thereby causing this equipment to work harder in order to reach the established temperature settings. Check windows and doors throughout the building for gaps or cracks, and then seal these openings up. Homeowners should additionally verify that there’s ample insulation and ventilation in attic areas so that heat loss and heat gain isn’t occurring at the topmost portion of the home.

Identify And Deal With Leaky Air Ducts

Air leaks aren’t just a problem at windows, doors, and poorly insulated attic areas. It is also a major issue throughout HVAC ductwork, especially if these systems aren’t being regularly cleaned, inspected, and repaired as needed. One sure sign of a leaky air duct is an area of the wall that feels abnormally cool or warm. This is an indication that heated or cooled air is escaping the duct system and being deposited behind the walls rather than in the actual living area. When leaky ducts exist, HVAC systems have to work harder and longer to effectively alter indoor temperatures. Moreover, homeowners wind up spending large sums of money on energy that isn’t benefitting them at all. Hot, stuffy rooms and noticeable differences between room temperatures are indicators of leaky air ducts as well. Consumers should also perform quick visual inspections of any exposed ductwork in basements and other areas.

Use Your HVAC System At A Fairly Static Temperature Setting

Surprisingly, good HVAC maintenance has as much to do with how a system is being regularly used as it does with how its being routinely cared for. Many households are guilty of cranking their thermostats way up or way down in order to affect rapid and dramatic temperature changes in the living environment. This equipment works best, however, when the temperature setting is kept fairly static. When indoor conditions are maintained at a stable level, less work is needed to ensure comfort. When residents feel too cold or too hot, they should consider adjusting their clothing first. It is never necessary to a turn a system on full-blast. This leads to overwork, increased energy use, and far greater wear and tear. One of the best ways to customize home comfort is to have a smart, programmable thermostat installed. These upgrades allow people to alter thermostat settings remotely, and to program their thermostats to reflect their living habits.

Open Up All Air Registers

Closing vents throughout the home is not the best way to create zoned heating and cooling for those with central HVAC. When air registers or vents are drawn closed, this disrupts the balance in performance across the entire HVAC system, creates excess pressure, and forces the equipment to work far harder. Not only does this result in significantly increased energy use, but it can also expedite wear and tear and create the need for an early replacement.

Check And Change Your Air Filter Often

Timely filter changes are among the easiest things that homeowners can do to keep their systems working efficiently. Filters are designed to capture and collect tiny airborne particulates to improve the overall indoor air quality. When too much debris builds up on these components, HVAC systems have to work harder and more energy is used. Moreover, these same accumulations can eventually come free to create larger blockages in ducts and at all vents throughout the home. Accumulations that obstruct optimal airflow in any area of the system will invariably increase the overall energy demand. For homes that use their HVAC systems daily, air filters should be changed once each month. Replacing low-cost, low-quality filters with more costly and higher rated options is also a great way to prevent extra and unnecessary energy use even as it improves indoor air qualities.

Have An Energy Audit Performed

Home energy audits should be performed once every several years. These services help homeowners identify shortcomings in their building structures, insulation, HVAC systems, ductwork, and other property features so that these issues can be corrected. Replacing existing insulation with insulation that has a higher R-value, upgrading outdated appliances, cleaning and repairing ductwork, and properly sealing air leaks are a few of the many corrective actions that an energy auditor is likely to recommend.

Schedule Professional HVAC Maintenance And Ductwork Inspections Annually

In addition to the steps that homeowners take on their own to keep their HVAC systems working well, it’s also important for consumers to regularly schedule professional HVAC maintenance and inspections. Thorough inspections will reveal hidden air leaks in ductwork, damaged or worn components, and other problems that might otherwise go unnoticed. These appointments should be scheduled once annually. Households with older HVAC equipment may want to schedule these visits at the start of each heating and cooling season.

Check The Outside Condenser Unit

Make sure that no foliage or other obstructions are blocking the outside condenser unit. Weeds and other growths can prevent optimal airflow in this area, lead to overheating or problems with icing, and even cause malfunction. All outside heating and cooling components should always be kept entirely clear of debris. Not only will this prevent functional problems, but it will also ensure that HVAC professionals can easily access these critical components for servicing.

Implement Other Forms Of Temperature Control

One of the best ways to limit energy spending while still getting the most from HVAC systems is by implementing other forms of temperature control. For instance, it’s possible to drastically reduce the amount of work that HVAC systems must do by simply installing high-quality window treatments and using them properly. On windows that receive large amounts of afternoon sunlight, light-blocking blinds or curtains will prevent solar energy from adding heat. Not only should these treatments be in place, but they should always be drawn closed during the hottest hours of the day.

Regular HVAC maintenance and proper HVAC use can drastically lower the amount of energy that households are using to keep their living environments properly cooled or heated, and at acceptable humidity levels. These efforts can additionally extend the lifespan of this important equipment while staving off the need for major repairs. Although homeowners can tackle much of this work on their own, hiring an HVAC contractor for professional servicing is key for ensuring optimum functioning and maximum energy savings.

Categorized as HVAC

How Much Does It Cost To Install Air Conditioning?

One of the most important appliances in your home is your air conditioner. Many people would be extremely uncomfortable without an air conditioner in their home. However, is the most common question that is asked for heating and cooling is how much does it cost to install air conditioning? The answer to this question varies due to different elements and factors that go into the installation of the air conditioning. In most cases, air-conditioning can cost anywhere from $4000 to $14,000, depending on the unique elements and factors.

The Transparency Behind The Costs Of Air Conditioning

Each home may have a different size, or a contractor may use different brands and labor techniques, and other factors help determine the actual cost it takes to install air conditioning. If you are looking to install air-conditioning into your home, it is best to understand the costs and the breakdown before you make your final decision.

Before going into a breakdown of air-conditioning costs, you want to make sure that you’re going to get a fair deal. Most of the air-conditioning prices will not be advertised because the factors that go into determining the overall cost can vary from house to house. It is essential that the contractor of your choice is transparent behind any of the costs of the air-conditioning and will not have issues answering your questions or have a problem with you getting estimates with competitors. As mentioned previously, the air-conditioning costs can range anywhere from $4000 to $14000.

Finding an air-conditioning professional that is transparent, relatable, understanding, and informative is the first step to understanding the costs behind and air-conditioning installation. The right contractor you choose will be honest and upfront about all the costs relating to air-conditioning installation. They will help assist you in determining which unit is ideal for your home and your specific needs and not try to push you into an installation that is not the right fit for your home.

An Ideal Break Down And What To Expect With Costs

The factors that go into the installation of the air conditioner usually have a solid breakdown. There are cost factors that increase or decrease the overall amount that it takes to install air conditioning into a home. However, if you consider the price of equipment that you’re installing based on your home’s required size, labor costs, including ductwork, equipment, and supplies, and the profit margin, you will have a better idea of what the contractor will give you as an estimate.

It is always a good idea to get a detailed quote from the contractor, so you know exactly what you’re paying for before you decide. Some factors that they will include will show Equipment, SEER, labor, permits, travel, ducting, new installations, and maintenance. To understand the breakdown further, see each one factor below.

Brand Of Equipment

Not all air-conditioning equipment is created or made of the same quality. There are some brands of equipment that are higher costs because of the quality of the equipment and supplies it takes to run it. Each house has a different amount of space it needs to heat and cool. Therefore, different manufacturers have created equipment that can function for the different square footage of the home. Each piece of equipment comes in a range of sizes, which can make a difference in the conditioning capacity. The more capacity the unit has and the more quality the unit is built with, the higher it can cost. You can get a deeper understanding of the brand features that include the BTU’s, SEER, and single-stage versus two-stage unit. These all factor into the branding and the quality of the unit itself.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio, SEER, is the variable-rate that showcases what the energy efficiency is in the unit. This is essential to understand because each manufacturer can make different units of different sizes, all with different SEER ratings. For example, a single-stage unit with a moderate climate range may have a SEER rating of 17 that can cost up to $3000. However, a single-stage unit with a tropical climate range that has a seer rating of 17can cost anywhere from $1900-$2700 per unit. While you may find another unit that is for a cooler climate range with a SEER rating of 15, that can cost up to $1700 depending on the brand.

The SEER rating values from low, midrange, too high based on the efficiency for the selected unit. The higher the seer number, the more costly the units tend to be. Some areas require a mandatory SEER rating for air conditioners, you can always inquire with the contractors of what the mandatory rating is to get a better idea of what equipment you’re planning to choose.

Labor, Permits, and Travel

Just like with most contractor jobs, the harder the job and the more complex the job is, the higher the cost will be. For example, if you have to get a unit installed in your basements and have it moved to your attic, the labor will be more intensive as they have to direct the flow of the ducting through the house in different layers and areas.

Contractors that install air-conditioning into homes have to have the right insurance and experience to perform air-conditioning jobs. This is not a cheap process, as there are regular requirements mandated by every area to keep contractors up to date with the knowledge to install or maintain air-conditioning. Therefore, some costs that get included with every single installation are included in the fair profit margin and may include higher labor costs. An honest contractor will give you a detailed list of the cost breakdown and be free to answer any questions relating to the actual costs.

Air Duct Costs & Maintenance

Another cost factor variable that is added into air-conditioning is the air duct cost and ongoing maintenance plans. If you want to have a unit that lasts for 15 to 25 years, you want to ensure that you have a quality air duct flow and plan for maintenance for the oncoming years. You can ask your contractor if new ductwork is going to be needed or if they suggest regular maintenance. It is a good idea for any homeowner to have a constant and annual maintenance plan to keep their investment in prime condition.

However, new construction homes usually require new ductwork installations and treatments to allow the airflow to be functional and proper for the home. This can increase the cost of the installation. If you want to distribute the air correctly, the contractor will investigate the docs and base the cost off of the size and complexity of the installation before completing the job. They will then suggest to you a maintenance plan that you can benefit from so you don’t have to stress about ongoing issues or concerns in the future.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the actual cost of an air-conditioning installation depends on multiple factors. The cost changes can be from branding, company reputation, equipment and supplies, labor, location, maintenance and air ducting plans, and the fair profit margins. Get a breakdown of the installation so you have a better understanding of the cost for your home. Or talk with a specialist that is honest and reliable.