Your heating and cooling bills can add up to hundreds of dollars per month. This can be a serious strain on the average household’s budget. Fortunately, there are ways that you can reduce the amount of energy that your HVAC system uses without feeling uncomfortable in your home.
Make Sure Your HVAC System Is Clean
A heating or cooling system that is clogged with dust, pollen, and other debris is going to have to work harder to keep your Marlborough, MA, house at a consistent temperature. Therefore, it may be a good idea to have your furnace and condenser unit cleaned at least once a year. In addition to helping them run more efficiently, you can also improve the indoor air quality in your home as well as prevent serious damage.
You should also make sure that your home’s ducts are kept clean. This will promote proper airflow throughout your ducts and through the inner components of your HVAC system. Ideally, you should have ducts cleaned once every five years or so, depending on the quality of the air in your home. Homes with pets often warrant more frequent cleanings. Vents should also be cleaned regularly to ensure that air is allowed to get through and keep spaces heated or cooled in a uniform manner.
Consider Installing a New Furnace or Air Conditioner
If your furnace was installed more than 15 years ago, it may not be as efficient as newer products on the market. The same might be true of any air conditioner that was added to your home more than a decade ago.
This is because SEER rating requirements have gone up over the past two decades. Currently, the minimum SEER rating is 15 in the southern states and 14 in the rest of the country. This is an increase from a rating of 8 to 10, which was the common rating about 10 years ago. This subtle difference could result in significantly lower heating bills each month.
Installing a new heating or cooling system in your home may also reduce the amount of money that you spend on repairs and other maintenance. Even if you’re only making repairs once or twice a year on your existing system, that can still add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars in extra costs. Not to mention, these malfunctions can be extremely inconvenient.
Make Use of Thermostat Settings
Another easy way to save energy is to not use your HVAC system when you don’t need it. For instance, if you are at work, you probably don’t need the house to be set at 70 degrees during the winter season. Instead, you can set the thermostat at 65 degrees when you’ll be away and tell the thermostat to start warming the house just before you get home. This can also be a good strategy overnight when everyone is asleep and can get under the blankets to stay warm.
During the summer months, you can program your air conditioner to run when your indoor temperature or humidity levels are rising. During the summer months in Massachusetts, it may be possible to have the window open or use a ceiling fan to keep the house cool during the day or at night.
If you have a zoned heating or cooling system, you can use it to further customize the temperature in each room of the house. For instance, you may be able to keep the temperature in your room lower during the day when you aren’t using it while increasing the temperature in the living room, where everyone is gathered.
Change the Air Filter
An often overlooked part of an HVAC system is the air filter. This is what helps to keep dust, pollen, and other particles out of the air that you breathe. It also helps to keep particles off of your furnace components.
An air filter typically needs to be changed every 30 to 90 days for best results. However, you may find it necessary to change it more frequently based on your indoor environment or the type of filter that you’re using.
Keep Condenser Units and Heat Pumps Clear of Debris
It’s not uncommon for condenser units to be clogged by leaves, sticks, or other debris that makes it harder for them to run properly. You may also find that animals try to make nests in condenser units during the winter months, as they offer refuge from cold weather and predators. To prevent damage or other issues, you should prune, trim, or move bushes or trees near an outdoor unit. You may want to keep it covered during the winter to prevent animals from nesting in it.
You may want to install a heating coil or similar product to keep a heat pump free of ice or snow. Alternatively, you can use a shovel to clear a radius of about two feet around the pump. This will prevent it from freezing or experiencing moisture problems that will prevent it from working at 100% efficiency.
Sealing Cracks and Gaps
Another easy way to help your HVAC system work at peak efficiency is to make sure that air isn’t allowed to escape. It’s not uncommon for ducts to crack or to have holes in them that allow warm or cool air to make their way to interior spaces where no one lives or plays.
It’s also not uncommon to have gaps in the attic, basement, or elsewhere that allow outdoor air to get into the house. During the winter months, the presence of colder outdoor air means that your furnace has to work harder to keep your house warm. In the summer, the presence of warm outdoor air means that your air conditioner must work harder.
You can combat these issues by sealing gaps with products like caulk or weatherstripping. Adding insulation to your attic or garage may also help to regulate the temperature in your home and make it easier for your heating or cooling systems to work like they should.
It may also be a good idea to check for gaps around windows or doors that are more than a few years old. These features have a tendency to expand or contract over time, which means that they may not fit as snugly around their frames as they did when first installed. Windows that were installed several decades ago likely have a single pane, which does a poor job of keeping indoor air in and outdoor air out of your house.
If you are looking for ways to make your home more comfortable, call the team at Endless Energy today! We can take a variety of steps to help you meet this goal, such as cleaning or sealing ducts, installing new heat pumps, or adding new insulation to various spaces in your home. Our team can also install mini-split systems, perform home energy audits, complete an indoor air quality assessment, or provide you with home maintenance plans.