Are your utility bills climbing higher and higher?
Did you know that heating and cooling equipment makes up more than HALF of your utility bill expenses? When it comes to HVAC, investing in high-efficiency means nothing if you aren’t taking steps to ensure your system is working at peak performance levels.
Here are some things that can kill the efficiency of your HVAC system.
Planting too close to your outdoor equipment. Airflow. Airflow. Airflow. You want to make sure that your outdoor equipment experiences proper airflow. Plants placed too close to your outdoor unit interfere with airflow, and their roots can cause damage.
Not changing your furnace filter frequently enough. Most efficiency killers involve blocked airflow. Not only is a dirty furnace bad for your health, but it can be bad for efficiency as well. Make sure you are changing your furnace filter once a season, or (even better) once a month!
Constantly adjusting your non-programmable thermostat. Customized temperature is something that can help improve home comfort. However, if you have a non-programmable thermostat, constant thermostat adjustments may result in more on/off cycles. Your cooling equipment consumes the most energy when its ramping on. If you want customized home comfort, invest in a programmable thermostat that does the adjusting for you.
Opening and closing registers. Your air conditioner is designed to cool a certain amount of air. When you open and close registers, this affects the amount of space your air conditioner is cooling. A better plan is to invest in a zoning system. A zoning system groups your home by rooms (or groups of rooms) each controlled by their OWN thermostat. This way different areas of your home can receive just the right amount of air.
Collapsed or blocked ductwork. Collapsed or blocked ductwork results in many of the same problems of a blocked filter, or an open or closed register. If a portion of your ductwork has collapsed, cool air distribution is prohibited. This can result in longer run times and a higher utility bill (not to mention decreased comfort). Make sure you get your ductwork inspected once a year. Not only will this help check for collapsed or blocked portions, but your contractor can also alert you to unseen problems your home may be having – like rodents or insects.
Opening windows and doors. Opening a window or door during the spring may seem like a good idea. Temperatures are warmer, but still cool enough to be comfortable. However, opening windows and doors is essentially letting your money fly out the window. Remember, it’s not your job to cool the entire neighborhood.
Not scheduling routine maintenance. The best way to keep your air conditioner running at peak efficiency levels is to schedule a clean and check with your contractor every spring. During a maintenance appointment, your contractor inspects the electrical system, cleans the unit and makes sure everything is running properly. Some contractors even have the option of maintenance contracts. That way you never forget to schedule an appointment.
Unfortunately, the age of a system also effects its efficiency. Even the most efficient units must work harder to cool as they get older. If your air conditioner is around 16 years old, it may be time to consider replacing it with a higher efficiency model. Even standard-efficiency units today are significantly more efficient than models manufactured ten years ago. Talk to your local HVAC contractor during your spring preventative maintenance appointment about your high-efficiency cooling options.
Are there things that you do to help improve efficiency?