Air Conditioning and Heating Tips
You want to keep your utility bills as low as you can and being able to make your house as cool or warm as you want to, whenever you want to. But if you can’t seem to get your energy bill down, your HVAC system may be the cause. Before calling the technician let’s go through our 5 tips you can do to make your HVAC more energy efficient.
For many of us, our heating and cooling accounts for nearly 50 percent of our home energy costs. If you’re struggling with higher than expected energy bills, here are some easy ways to increase your HVAC system’s efficiency and lower your utility bills:
1. Purchase a programmable thermostat.
One of the easiest ways to save money on your utility bills is to purchase a programmable thermostat and use it correctly. A lot of people have them, very few people use them correctly. If you do it correctly so your thermostat lets the temperature rise when you’re not home during the summer and drops it in the winter by 10 to 15 degrees for 6 to 8 hours, you can save between 5 and 15 percent annually on heating and cooling costs. In other words, just by allowing your house to be warmer (or cooler) while you are at work, you can save big money.
Instead of trying to remember everyday to change your thermostat’s settings, programmable thermostats allow you to schedule automatic temperature changes based on your utilities pay rate schedules, as well as your own. Just remember to update and adjust when necessary.
2. Change your air filter regularly.
Air filters are one of the easiest things to maintain that always get forgotten about. Dirty air filters block the airflow through your system making it less efficient. Once a month, you should take out your air filter and inspect it once a month for quality and debris. If you can’t see light passing through your filter then it may be time to change it. Typically, good air filters last between 60 to 90 days, and some last up to a full year, but inspecting them each month and changing them often will make your HVAC system more efficient and save you money.
3. Clean the coils on your air conditioning unit.
Keeping the AC coils on your outdoor unit clean is another easy way to improve your systems efficiency. The way it works is that the fan in your outdoor unit pulls warm air in and over the coils, but when it does it also pulls in dirt and debris.
Cleaning your coils by clearing any debris from the outside of your unit will allow maximum air flow into your unit. Clear out any leaves, sticks or other debris that is trapped on the outside of your unit, especially during the warmer months when your unit is working overtime. If you have trees, plants, or other foliage around your unit keep them trimmed back at least two feet away from your system do keep air flow at its peak. Then, shut off the power to your system and vacuum the outside “fins” on the unit with your vacuum’s soft bristle attachment, or rinse them with a hose.
If you think your coils need a more intensive cleaning, you can try cleaning them on your own or calling an HVAC professional to service your unit.
4. Check your home’s ducts and registers.
If the idea of this already turns you off, or if you read through it and it’s just not something you’re going to do, the best thing you can do is order a $100 energy efficiency inspection. If you’re not sure who to call, call us here at EcoBuilt and we’ll be happy to connect you with one of our professional teams to go through your system for you.
Your air ducts are the pathways that air travels throughout your home. In order to keep the airflow in your home at maximum capacity, vacuum your registers (the outlets) whenever you see dust accumulating on the register. Check any ducts you have access to for debris and ensure there are no obstructions to air flow. Keeping your ducts and registers free of dust and debris will allow your system to push air through your house more efficiently, saving you money in the long run.
When checking your visible ductwork, look for holes in the ducts and gaps between duct connections that create airflow leakages. Where possible, plug any holes and seal duct connections to keep your system from working harder than necessary.
5. Replace your HVAC equipment with newer, high-efficiency equipment.
If your system is 10 to 15 years old, it’s likely time to replace it. Consider replacing your unit with a high-efficiency unit that maximizes energy savings. This may be costly up front, but if you can afford to make the investment, it pays off with big time energy savings over time.
For example, replacing just your old AC unit with a more efficient, ENERGY STAR-rated unit can save you hundreds of dollars per year.
So do some quick maintenance on your home and start lowering your bills today by considering how you can implement these five energy-saving tips into your home maintenance routine. Increasing the efficiency of your HVAC system can be the best way to reduce your new home’s utility costs.