Modern HVAC systems ensure we’re comfortable all year round, but that comfort isn’t free! The average family in the U.S. spends over $2,000 each year on utilities. Here at Home Comfort Alliance, we know you’d rather keep some of that money in your pocket, which is why we compiled a list of ten easy ways you can improve your HVAC system’s energy efficiency. Since 1977, the technicians at Home Comfort Alliance have provided high-quality heating and cooling services to help homeowners in the Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma areas keep their HVAC systems in top condition.
Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is a crucial step toward lowering your utility bills. There are many strategies you can use to make sure your heater and air conditioner are working efficiently, such as scheduling routine maintenance or closing your blinds during the hottest time of the day. Let’s take a look at the ways you can keep your HVAC equipment energy efficient.
1. Program the Thermostat
Did you know that adjusting your thermostat by 10 degrees for 8 hours a day can help you save 15% a year on your energy costs? The thermostat is responsible for telling your HVAC system what temperature to run at. Even though most modern thermostats can be programmed, not all homeowners take advantage of the feature.
While programming a thermostat, you can set the temperature to change at different times throughout the day. For example, many people like to program their thermostats to run less during the day while they’re at work and then schedule the HVAC to kick back on when they return home in the evening.
2. Change the Air Filter
Air filters protect your HVAC system from getting clogged with dust and debris. When the filter gets dirty, the heating and cooling system has to work harder to push air through, resulting in more energy consumption. Changing your air filter every three months reduces the strain on your HVAC system and increases your energy efficiency. Plus, clean systems are less likely to need repairs.
3. Inspect the Ductwork
After air has been treated by the air conditioner or furnace, it moves throughout your home via a system of vents and ducts called ductwork. Most ductwork is hidden behind walls, but you can see a bit of it coming from the top of your furnace. Ductwork is designed to be efficient, but there are problems that can decrease efficiency. The two main culprits of heat loss in ductwork are air leaks and dirty ducts. If you haven’t had your ducts cleaned and inspected in the last five years, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our expert HVAC technicians.
4. Close Curtains and Blinds
Increasing your HVAC system’s energy efficiency boils down to more than just maintaining the system itself. In fact, there are easy things you can do around your help to help out your heating and cooling system. One of the easiest things you can do is close your blinds and curtains during the day. Blocking the sunlight prevents heat from entering your home, which creates a cooler temperature. On the other hand, during winter you should open the blinds to let in as much light and warmth as possible. This will naturally raise your home’s internal temperature. Both of these things will cause your HVAC system to work less, which increases energy efficiency.
5. Seal Drafts and Air Leaks
It’s not unusual for older homes to develop air leaks. Air leaks are most often found around external-facing doors and windows, but they can also develop in the attic, basement or crawl space. When air leaks in from outside, your HVAC system is forced to run more frequently to compensate for the changing temperature. This is also why it’s best to close all doors and windows before turning on your air conditioner or heater.
6. Turn Down the Thermostat
Does your HVAC system need to be running on full blast all the time? Turning it down a few degrees can have a big impact on reducing your energy usage. You can stay comfortable by wearing layers. During the winter, we recommend putting on a sweater or a pair of wooly socks instead of cranking the furnace. During summer, you can opt for lighter layers instead of blasting the AC.
7. Optimize Your HVAC System’s Performance
If you don’t get regular maintenance, your HVAC system will become less and less efficient. There are certain HVAC maintenance tasks that should be tackled by a professional, but there are others you can do yourself to ensure your system is running efficiently. A few things you can do yourself include changing the air filter, replacing the thermostat batteries, and cleaning up any debris around the external equipment.
8. Use Your Stove and Dryer Strategically
Some household appliances produce a lot of heat, such as ovens, stoves, and dryers. This isn’t an issue during the winter, but just a little extra heat in your home during the summer can cause you to run your system more. Try to avoid using appliances that generate heat, especially during the hottest part of the day. Waiting until the evening when it’s cooler will help you boost your home’s energy efficiency.
9. Schedule a Routine Tune-Up
The best thing you can do to maintain your HVAC system’s energy efficiency is to schedule a regular tune-up with Home Comfort Alliance. We’ll send out a technician twice a year to run through a thorough inspection of either your heating or cooling equipment. Not only will we clean out the system, but we’ll also check the thermostat and ductwork. Plus, if we notice anything wrong mechanically, we can repair it before it grows into a major issue. Annual furnace and AC maintenance will keep your system running at peak energy efficiency for years to come.
10. Upgrade Your Old System
With proper maintenance, most residential furnaces and air conditioners will last between ten and fifteen years. When the time to upgrade rolls around, it’s an opportunity to increase your energy efficiency. Advances in technology in heating and cooling mean that more energy-efficient systems are coming out each year.
HVAC system components have an energy efficiency rating, such as SEER, that shows how well it functions. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. While replacing your system is certainly expensive, your new equipment will result in lower heating and cooling bills. If it’s time to upgrade your system, our knowledgeable representatives can help you choose a model with a high efficiency rating and make sure it suits your space and budget.
Quality HVAC Service in Seattle
Would you like to learn more about improving your HVAC system’s energy efficiency? The knowledgeable technicians at Home Comfort Alliance are here to help. We have the training and expertise to make sure your equipment is running at peak efficiency. In addition to our maintenance service, we can also help you with repairs or installations anywhere in the Greater Seattle area. Give us a call today in Seattle, Redmond or Tacoma.