In these trying times, we are all tightening our belts to save money, and our energy bills are a large expenditure that can be hard to tame. At this same time, we don’t want to compromise on our home comfort, and the two positions are not compatible. But, it is possible to save money and maintain comfort if you can improve the efficiency of your heating system. In this article, we will examine six ways that you can reduce your energy bills and maintain your current level of home comfort.
- Schedule Regular Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure that your equipment won’t fail when you need it most. But, many people don’t understand that regular maintenance can also boost the efficiency of their heating and cooling equipment. Identifying potential issues earlier can lower the costs of ownership because early repairs are less expensive. When you consider the price of a tune-up for your system, it’s a bargain compared to the costs of major repairs or an entire replacement. Many HVAC companies have a maintenance program that you can join to make even greater savings. The best times for maintenance are before the next heating or cooling season. Your HVAC company will remind members of their maintenance program to ensure they get priority. It’s always a good idea to arrange maintenance early to avoid disappointment. This is because HVAC companies get busy during the heating and cooling season when they repair poorly maintained equipment. If you have newer HVAC equipment, regular servicing may even be a requirement to stay within the terms of your warranty.
- Install a Smart Thermostat
The thermostat acts as the brain of your entire heating and cooling system. If you are using an older unit that is adjusted manually with a slider or dial, you are missing out on some significant energy savings. Even a slightly more up-to-date digitally controlled programmable thermostat is not as efficient as the latest smart technology. A smart thermostat is often referred to as a “WiFi Thermostat,” and it’s a more intuitive way to control your HVAC system. The level of control is considerable; you can make adjustments from your favorite mobile device in real time. If you’re going to be delayed, you can set the system to come on later to save money. But, this is just the tip of the iceberg. A smart thermostat will also learn your preferences and implement them for you. Gradually, it will look at ways to save energy, based on how you use the system, to save you money without compromising your comfort. If you’re looking for a cost effective way to control your HVAC system, this is the current gold standard. Many modern HVAC systems and a few older ones are compatible with smart thermostats.
- Sealing the Air Ducts
The production of treated air takes a lot of energy, and this can be lost if you have gaps in your air ducts. If you examine your ductwork, you may notice obvious cracks and breaks, but there could be less obvious holes where the air could escape. This can cause a release of treated air into parts of your home where it isn’t required, which is a waste of money. Temporary repairs can be made with store bought duct tape, but this isn’t a long term solution. It’s a better idea to get a local certified HVAC specialist to inspect your ductwork and make repairs as needed. In many cases, it is a better idea to replace the ductwork entirely, and this is less expensive than you may imagine.
- Use the Ceiling Fans
Many people have ceiling fans in their homes that they only use during the summer months. The movement of air can make a room feel a little cooler, and they are less expensive to run than your HVAC system. If you run your fans at a slower speed, you can usually shave a few degrees of the temperature of your air conditioning system. But, many people are unaware that this same trick can be used when the weather is colder. The trick is to understand that the direction of the fan is important when you want to move warm or cold air around a room. When you want to feel warmer, you can set the ceiling fan to operate in reverse and select a slower running speed. This gentle movement will help to distribute the warmer air around the room, which raises the ambient temperature a few degrees. This may seem like a minor improvement, but over the course of an entire heating season, it can save a lot of energy.
- Replace the Air Filters
Many people believe that the air filters in their heating and cooling systems are designed to improve the indoor air quality (IAQ). This is not the primary purpose; the air filters are needed to prevent particulates from entering the sensitive components. As you might imagine, dust, debris, and other pollutants can damage electronic, electrical, and mechanical parts in your HVAC system. A steady supply of air is required to keep the system working efficiently, and if the airflow is impeded, it can have dramatic consequences. When the air isn’t moving due to a clogged filter, the equipment will work harder to compensate. This will drive up your energy bills, and the extra strain can cause components to fail, leading to a repair bill. Air filters are easy to change; the full instructions for your system are in your owner’s manual. Just make sure you get the right air filter, if it’s too large, it won’t fit, and if it’s too small, the air can simply flow around it.
- Keep Vents and Registers Clear
All warm-air registers, radiators, and baseboard heaters need to be kept clear. Move aside any drapes, furniture, carpeting, and other items that can obstruct them. At the exterior vents, you need to clear away any old bird nests, dirt, debris, and other items. This will help the heating system to run more efficiently, which will reduce your energy consumption.
If you’re interested in a smart thermostat, air duct sealing, or regular maintenance for your HVAC system, contact your local certified heating and cooling specialist today.