Is your energy bill much higher than you expected? Your heating or cooling system may be to blame. Thankfully, there are ways to improve HVAC efficiency in your home.
Did you know that nearly half of the average energy bill is from HVAC systems? According to Energy Star, “the average annual bill for a home equipped with a gas furnace and central air is about $875, which is roughly 43% of a year’s total energy spending.”
Here are some simple solutions to increase your HVAC system’s efficiency.
Use a programmable thermostat
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you might want to consider getting one. A programmable thermostat allows you to set and adjust timers for when the HVAC system turns on and off, along with a standard temperature level. That way, you can have your home heat up or cool down while you are home and not while you are away.
If you do have a programmable thermostat, be sure that you are making the most of it. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.”
A programmable thermostat will allow you to set this automatically for when you are at work or away.
When choosing a new programmable thermostat, there many options. A newer, digital thermostat will have more options and features, but they aren’t necessarily as easy to use as electro-mechanical systems.
Change your air filters
Changing your air filter is a quick and easy way to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. A dirty filter can impede airflow to your HVAC system. Filters should be cleaned or replaced monthly and inspected.
Clean A/C unit coils
Cleaning the coils in your AC’s outdoor condenser unit is another great maintenance task that can improve efficiency and extend the life of your unit.
Clear away any debris from the unit, and be sure to trim any plants that are coming close to or have actually grown into the unit. Turn off the power to the unit and clean the unit with a vacuum or a hose. If your coils need a deeper cleaning, you can contact a certified HVAC technician to perform a tune-up.
Check ducts for leaks
If your HVAC system doesn’t seem to be working as efficiently as it should be, it can be a good idea to check your ducts for leaks. Depending on how much of your duct work is visible, you should check the following areas for leaks:
- Tears in the ducts
- Check joints to see if air is coming out
- Duct tape instead of a more permanent seal
If you find any leaks, you’ll want to seal them. Two possible methods include using foil-faced tape to wrap the duct or applying mastic. If the leak is extensive, you may want to get some of your ducts replaced.
Keep windows and doors shut
This might seem like common sense, but it is very important. Leaving your door cracked to the outside can let your warm, or cool, interior air out.
In addition to keeping windows and doors shut, check to see if any air is escaping through the window seals or the bottom of the exterior doors. This could be affecting the indoor temperature of your home.
You should also ensure that your home is insulated well. If you feel warm or cool air coming through a wall, that’s a sure sign that your home isn’t well insulated.
Ensure vents and returns are not obstructed
Make sure that none of your vents are closed or blocked by furniture. This can keep certain rooms from heating or cooling.
Get a home warranty
In the event that your HVAC system does break down in the future, you’ll likely be faced with enormous repair or replacement costs. Purchasing a home warranty from Freedom Home Warranty can give you protection against those costs. With a warranty plan and the cost of a low $65 service fee, you can have a contractor sent to your home to evaluate and repair your HVAC system.
A home warranty can also cover a pre-season HVAC tune-up, which can get your system clean and working efficiently.
By following these tips, your HVAC system can start operating more efficiently.