We rely on our HVAC systems to keep our homes comfortable throughout the year. But, many people lament their higher energy bills and they may be using their HVAC system incorrectly. The system will always consume a certain amount of energy, and yet you can lower the energy bills without compromising on performance. In this article, we will present seven HVAC tips that will help you to lower your utility bills.
1. Routine Essential Maintenance
The average lifespan of an air conditioner is around 15 years, and a gas furnace will last for 15-20 years. This will vary depending on the make and model and regular maintenance. When heating and cooling equipment is first installed, it has the maximum performance and energy efficiency characteristics. A good installation by a professional HVAC technician will ensure that you have the best heating and cooling experience. But, every year after the installation, the HVAC system will begin to lose energy efficiency. These systems are complex, they are used on most days throughout the year, and this takes a toll. For this reason, it’s important to invest in some essential maintenance for your HVAC system. The ideal time is just before the start of the heating and cooling seasons which is late spring and fall. At these times the need for heating and cooling is lower and the home will not be uncomfortable as the technician works.
2. Make a Slight Adjustment
A slight adjustment of 1-2º may seem trivial, but when you measure those changes across an entire year, it’s surprising how much money they save. As an example: if you dropped the temperature from 70º down to 68º, it’s unlikely that anyone would notice. But, that change would certainly be reflected in the lowered energy bills.
3. Upgrade the Thermostat
Many people now use a programmable thermostat to set the timings for their HVAC system. Older units are extremely basic, they may be a simple dial timer that turns the system on and off at set times. The better models have more functionality with temperature adjustments which can change during pre-programmed periods. When you think about a thermostat, it’s a good idea to imagine that it’s the brain of your entire HVAC system. When the thermostat is underperforming or sending the wrong messages at the wrong times, it will affect the entire home. For these reasons, many people have upgraded to a smart thermostat, which offers unparalleled control. The HVAC system can be controlled remotely in real time via a handy app on your favorite mobile device or a computer. It’s possible to make changes and monitor the performance when you are not at home. This means that if you are delayed getting home, the HVAC system will not be heating or cooling an empty home. A smart thermostat will also monitor the system and send an alert if there is a problem. It may be possible to install a smart thermostat for your existing HVAC system.
4. Understand the Temperature Range
A modern HVAC system may be designed to operate at exact optimum temperature ranges. Running the system outside this temperature range may degrade the energy efficiency, and it could damage the equipment. When any system is overworked, it’s more likely to fail as key components are placed under too much stress. The best way to understand the temperature range is to read the owner’s manual for your HVAC system. Or you could speak to your HVAC technician when he carries out the maintenance for your system.
5. Consider an HVAC System Upgrade
As we mentioned earlier, the lifespan of an AC system is around 15 years, and a gas furnace can last up to 20 years. Regular maintenance should make these limits more achievable, but eventually, this will not be a cost effective measure. There is a point when the system will rack up more frequent repairs, and the energy efficiency will be poor. At this time, it makes more sense financially to replace the HVAC system entirely. Many people choose to change their air conditioner and furnace at the same time. This is because matched heating and cooling systems deliver more performance and energy savings. If your systems are ten years old or older and you have a major repair bill, it’s a good idea to examine your options carefully. The latest high-efficiency HVAC systems can significantly lower your energy bills with no loss in performance.
6. Run the Ceiling Fans
Many people run their HVAC systems and ignore their ceiling fans entirely, which is a bad decision. The ceiling fans move around the treated air, and they can make a room feel cooler or warmer than they are. In fact, you can alter the temperature by around
4º when you use fans, and they are less expensive to run than the HVAC system. So, you can increase or decrease the thermostat settings by a further 4º depending on the season. This can be stacked with the aforementioned 1-2º changes with no loss of comfort. If you adjust the speed settings of the fan, it is possible to lower the energy consumption.
7. Create Shady Areas
To keep your home naturally cool, you can plant shady trees around your property to cut down the direct sunlight that can heat up your home. Inside the home, you can close or partially close window shades and drapes to keep the sunlight at a comfortable level. When direct sunshine is allowed to stream into a room, it heats up the air and any furniture and soft furnishings. This heat can stay trapped in the room for a long time, and when you turn on the AC system, you will be trying to remove this heat which consumes more energy. Creating shade also works in reverse; when it’s cold outside, and the sun is shining, open up the shades and drapes to let the sunshine in. This will heat up the home for free, and it’s easier to make the home comfortable when the furnace is running.
If you want to schedule some essential HVAC system maintenance, contact your local heating and cooling specialist today.