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.