Simple Ways to Increase Your Home's HVAC System Efficiency
According to HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) industry data, the average American homeowner spends approximately $1300 a year on heating and cooling bills. While green overhauls are all the rage in the home improvement and construction industry, it’s not necessary to gut your home’s existing heating and cooling system. There are many ways to make your home more energy efficient without breaking the bank. Making a few simple changes and taking the time to maintain your current HVAC system can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars saved on utilities.
One of the best ways to ensure your home’s energy-efficiency is to choose Energy Star appliances. These machines have been certified by the government’s Energy Star program, which assures they meet high standards of efficiency and reliability. If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, air conditioner, television, microwave, or other major appliance, look for the Energy Star label to guarantee you’re getting the most efficient device with a low operating cost.
Maintenance is the best way to prevent undue wear and tear on your home’s heating and cooling system. Not only will regular maintenance keep your HVAC system running at optimum performance, but it will detect problems or malfunctions before they become major issues.
To keep your HVAC system running as it should, follow these basic tips:
- Hire a professional to perform regular maintenance on your HVAC system, including annual tune-ups and cleanings of your furnace and air conditioner before the start of each season.
- Follow your system manufacturer’s maintenance instructions between annual professional visits.
- Check furnace and air conditioner filters: Permanent filters should be cleaned with mild soap and water every month or two; replaceable filters should be swapped out at least as often.
- Keep windows and doors closed when the HVAC system is running.
- Caulk and weather strip around windows and doors to seal drafts.
- When the air conditioning is on, use your washer and dryer only during the coolest times of day (early morning or after sunset).
Staying on top of regular HVAC maintenance, cleaning, and professional tune-ups is the easiest, cheapest, most effective way to keep your home’s heating and cooling system working at its best. A well-tuned furnace or air conditioner runs more efficiently, which saves you money.
Consider installing a programmable thermostat. These inexpensive thermostats allow you to set the times and temperatures at which your HVAC systems run. You can program the thermostat to turn on your heating and air conditioning only on those times in which you are in the house and turn off when you are away. It’s a great way to lower your utility bills.
If cleaning and professional maintenance just aren’t translating into savings on your monthly utility bills, it may be time to replace your furnace or air conditioner. A new HVAC system is a substantial investment, but in the long-run this could be your best bet. Thanks to technological advances and government regulations, HVAC systems have never been more energy-efficient or easy to operate. Even units on the lower end of the efficiency scale typically cost less to operate than a similar system that was installed just a decade ago.
High efficiency models do cost significantly more initially, but they pay for themselves in just a short time in the form of monthly energy savings. Of course, you’ll need to weigh the purchase cost and savings when shopping for a new system. A qualified HVAC contractor can help you navigate the complex marketplace of energy-efficient heating and cooling units.