If you’re like most Americans, about half of your yearly energy bills result from heating and air conditioning use. Maintaining a quality environment for you and your family is a priority. When energy bills rise, however, financial stress takes its toll. According to Statista, Electric rates are predicted to climb by 1.3% between 2021 and 2022. Therefore, it’s an excellent time to consider ways to reduce consumption and lower your energy bill.
Adjusting your daily habits and unplugging various gadgets helps bring your energy costs down, but these actions are only bandaids. With HVAC use gobbling up your energy budget, your heating and cooling systems need to be your primary focus for real savings. The most effective way to ease energy bill woes is to create and maintain an energy-efficient HVAC system.
And what better way is there to analyze the best way to save on heating and cooling costs than to take advice from the experts? Cold Factor, a Texas HVAC company, provided a handful of helpful tips and tricks to help you save significant cash on your monthly energy bills.
By using this guide, you’ll improve your HVAC system’s performance and efficiency. In turn, it’ll reduce your household energy consumption for your household. Fortunately, following these guidelines is easy.
Table of Contents:
- Adjust Your Thermostat
- Evaluate Thermostat Placement
- Change Filters Regularly
- Seal Your Home
- Check Your Attic, Basement, and Ductwork
- Protect Your Outside Unit
- Schedule Preventive Maintenance
Adjust Your Thermostat
It may seem obvious, but thermostat adjustment is an often-overlooked solution to high energy costs. Minor adjustments to your thermostat make a big difference in your electric bills.
According to the United States Department of Energy, adjusting your thermostat 7-10 degrees from your norm, higher in summer and lower in winter, saves about 10% on yearly heating and cooling costs. A lower nighttime temperature during the winter also helps.
These adjustments are easily achieved with a programmable thermostat. This technology enables users to program their desired heating and air conditioning temperatures. Then, the thermostat will automatically activate the AC or heating unit when needed rather than overusing your HVAC system.
Less fiddling with the thermostat increases the likelihood that temperatures won’t bounce around as people seek a comfortable temperature at the moment. The programmable thermostat is a worry-free method of keeping your home’s temperature at the optimal level for the time of day and any occupants.
A high-tech upgrade delivers an even lower energy bill. Due to increasingly high energy costs, this upgrade is money well spent. For example, check your home’s temperature on your phone, tablet, or computer with a Smart Home thermostat.
With Smart Home Services, you also can change that temperature remotely using those devices. By remotely monitoring and adjusting the temperature, you prevent wasteful heating and cooling when no one is home.
Evaluate Thermostat Placement
Adjusting the thermostat isn’t the only way to improve efficiency. Household appliances like dryers, ovens, and irons generate heat that increases room temperatures. When a thermostat is installed near a heated appliance, it is tricked into thinking the overall home temperature is higher than it is. Central air conditioning then blasts the entire house just to cool a small area which may only be heated for a short time.
This also occurs if the thermostat is too near smaller heat-generating items or windows. Everyday items like lamps, hairdryers, and some computer equipment heat small areas. A nearby thermostat responds to that, kicking on unnecessarily to reduce this small blast of warmth. Similarly, west-facing windows allow the afternoon sun to raise room temperatures quickly.
A poorly placed thermostat reacts by overcooling the rest of the house. By placing the thermostat in a better location and closing blinds and drapes to keep the sun at bay, you save money.
Change Filters Regularly
Your HVAC equipment’s air filters do more than remove contaminants from the air you breathe. Filters also prevent damage to your HVAC system and allow it to function better.
Make filter changes a part of your regular home maintenance schedule. Change them once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer.
In addition to allowing unhealthy contaminants into the air you breathe, a clogged filter also forces the HVAC system to work harder to get the job done. The reduction in airflow pushes components to do more work, costing more money by requiring more energy and wearing out parts more quickly.
With clogged filters, contaminants enter and remain in ductwork, reducing air quality in your home while reducing air handling efficiency throughout your HVAC system.
Clenliness is a necessity for an energy-efficient HVAC. Therefore, Cold Factor advised that you maintain a clean and unobstructed furnace along with regular filter changes, Furnace Cleaning Tips for the Winter are relatively simple for a homeowner to follow, but an experienced professional’s services are always a great option.
Seal Your Home
Most of us are familiar with hearing someone holler, “Were you born in a barn?” when a door is left hanging open while a cooling or heating system is in use. The door isn’t the only concern when it comes to preventing air leakage from the home.
If energy bills seem unusually high, it may be time to have your home assessed for points of leakage. Professional HVAC contractors such as Cold Factor can help, but you can also do this yourself. Check around windows and door frames for signs that air is escaping.
If you run the air conditioner and feel cool air around the windows outside, seal those windows. Weatherstripping around the door helps prevent loss of heated or cooled air as well.
Check Your Attic, Basement, And Ductwork
Although you don’t see it, ductwork isn’t maintenance-free. Checking on your ductwork is vital to keeping your HVAC system running efficiently. Not only does your ductwork need to be clean, but also it has to be free from leaks.
Leaks occur from cracks or gaps in the ductwork, particularly where two pieces meet. Repairing issues like this reduces the amount of effort, and therefore energy, the HVAC system requires to heat and cool your home.
Even with an energy-efficient air/c unit and heater, the entire system has to be optimized for the best results. Not all insulation is the same, and it makes a big difference in how well your home maintains the temperature you desire. Pipes and ducts wrapped in insulation help keep them cool during summer and warm during winter.
Attics, basements, and walls also have insulation to trap your home’s temperature inside. If these are substandard, your heated or cooled air flies away, taking money in the form of high energy costs with it. Assess your insulation situation, especially in the attic and basement.
Industry standards may have changed since your home was built. That’s why adding additional or new insulation can help your system run efficiently.
Protect Your Outside Unit
Efficiency measures don’t end inside the home. Your exterior unit’s condition impacts energy usage as well. Debris buildup must be cleared away to maintain a healthy unit. Keep foliage trimmed, and don’t crowd the unit by stacking anything too near it. Adequate airflow is imperative to your system.
Your unit’s location makes a difference as well. Ideally, your exterior air conditioning unit needs to be placed in a shady area. If your unit is already set in a location with heavy afternoon sun, consider using an awning to create shade. Keeping your condenser cool prevents overworking it during those blistering summer months.
Schedule Preventative Maintenance
When the weather outside is frightful, your HVAC system takes care of you. So make sure you’re always there for it, too. Schedule a professional HVAC company for a check-up at the beginning of each high-use season to avoid problems. Seek out a qualified professional with positive reviews and recommendations.
During routine seasonal maintenance, your HVAC professional assesses the unit’s condition inside your home and out. This includes a detailed examination of the units, including electrical components, motors, circuits, and safety controls.
Any concerns will be addressed, with repairs being made and parts replaced as needed. This keeps your unit in top shape for the challenges of the upcoming season. It also increases the unit’s longevity, saving you time, money, and grief in the short and long term.
Upgrade Your HVAC System
An HVAC professional also performs an energy audit on your home to help you make your home more energy-efficient. Sometimes the best way to ensure an optimal and efficient system is to upgrade. Energy Star-rated appliances must meet strict standards regarding energy consumption. These appliances are built with efficiency in mind.
New units are marked with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The SEER relates to the cost, both in money and energy, the unit consumes each year. The government sets the lowest SEER allowed.
A higher SEER rating indicates the best possible results with ideal usage. This may be confusing, and units aren’t one-size-fits-all, as some HVAC companies might have you believe. A reputable company assists you with What Is Important to Look For in a Quality HVAC Installation based on your home’s energy audit.
With quality professional guidance and installation, an energy-efficient HVAC system with an Energy Star seal and a high SEER, coupled with Smart Thermostat technology and measures meant to decrease air loss through cracks and gaps, ensures you’re using one of the most efficient systems and setups available to you. With proper professional maintenance, this system functions efficiently for a long time.
By protecting and preserving your HVAC system like the asset it is, you keep yourself and your family comfortable while saving money. An energy-efficient system helps you take control of energy bills. With the simplicity of these steps and the assistance of a qualified HVAC professional, keeping your HVAC system in tip-top shape is a breeze.