Quick Tips to keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape for maximum comfort, energy efficiency, and long operating life:
General HVAC Information
Nearly half of a utility bill goes to paying for the heating and cooling of a home. With such a large portion, it’s important to find energy savings wherever you can. Keeping your equipment in good shape is one easy way to do this. HVAC seasonal maintenance is especially important to keeping your system in good condition. Little things like dirt and dust buildup can have a devastating effect. It is the cause of 90% of all system failures. Just having the system cleaned on a regular basis can prevent thousands of dollars of repair or replacement, as well as keeping you breathing in cleaner air. It’s important to check for leaks, corrosion, frayed wires, blowers, coils, gas lines and meters, even the thermostat. This maintenance saves money in the long run by helping your system run better and cleaner, which keeps your home more comfortable and healthy.
-Set your thermostat as low as it is comfortable.
-Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month.
-Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
-Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely; in just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.
-Keep draperies and shades open on south-facing windows during the heating season to allow sunlight to enter your home; close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
-Close an unoccupied room that is isolated from the rest of the house such as in a corner and turn down the thermostat or turn off the heating for that room or zone. Do not, however, turn the heating off if it adversely affects the rest of your system.
If you use electricity to heat your home, consider installing an energy efficient heat pump system. Heat pumps are the most efficient form of electric heating in moderate climates, providing three times more heating than the equivalent amount of energy they consume in electricity. Heat pumps do double duty as a central air conditioner. They can also cool your home by collecting the heat inside your house and effectively pumping it outside. A heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating as much as 30% to 40%.
-Do not set back the heat pump’s thermostat manually if it causes the electric resistance heating to come on. This type of heating, which is often used as a backup to the heat pump, is more expensive.
-Clean or change filters once a month or as needed and maintain the system according to manufacturer’s instructions.
It might surprise you to know that buying a bigger room air-conditioning unit won’t necessarily make you feel more comfortable during the hot summer months. In fact, a room air conditioner that’s too big for the area it is supposed to cool will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized unit. This is because room units work better if they run for relatively long periods of time than if they are continually, switching off and on. Longer run times allow air conditioners to maintain a more constant room temperature. Running longer also allows them to remove a larger amount of moisture from the air, which lowers humidity and, more importantly, makes you feel more comfortable.
-Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
-Don’t set your thermostat at a colder temperature setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and therefor unnecessary expense.
-Consider ceiling fans to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
-Don’t place lamps or TV sets near your air conditioning thermostat.
-Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units but not to block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 8% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.