Lately, your utility bills have been so high that you’re considering dipping into junior’s college fund to pay them. Before you dash his dreams, consider this: your HVAC system may be the culprit.
HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It is a technology that controls a space’s central heating and air conditioning. Heating and cooling expenses typically comprise 50 percent to 60 percent of a homeowner’s energy bills, so it’s prudent to increase your system’s efficiency. These pointers will help you get the most out of your system:
SET YOUR THERMOSTAT FOR THE CORRECT TEMPERATURE
Have you ever wanted your house to heat up or cool down quickly, and set the temperature much higher or lower to accomplish this? You’re actually defeating the purpose, forcing the unit to work longer and more strenuously. Instead, set it at a standard temperature and allow the heat or air to progressively go up or down.
GET A PROGRAMMABLE OR SMART THERMOSTAT
Thermostats are energy hogs when they’re set at the same temperature day and night. If the house isn’t occupied during the daytime it’s wasteful to have the heater or air conditioning cranking away. The solution is a programmable thermostat, which you can set a bit higher during the summer and several degrees lower in the wintertime when your house is vacant during the day.
A new energy efficient tool is the smart thermostat, which can be controlled from a smartphone. These devices can remember your habits and adjust accordingly. They even tally the amount of time the system has been running and alert you if your air filter should be replaced.
BLOCK THE SUN’S HEAT
Sunlight flooding through a window may look dazzling but it can quickly sear rooms. In turn, your air conditioner does double duty. West and south-facing windows get the brunt of it. Protecting these windows can save you up to 70 percent of your AC costs. Simply close blinds and incorporate solar shades when the sun reaches its apex, to diminish your cooling expenses.
CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER FREQUENTLY
When filters are clogged they choke airflow, and your system is less efficient. Since your heating/cooling is running year round, it amasses dust, hair, dirt and other impurities. Once a month, examine your filter for debris. It’s time to replace it when the light doesn’t pass through it. Optimally, you can boost your heating and cooling system’s efficiency by checking the filter every 30 days. If you have pets — especially more than one — you may have to do this very often.
CLEAN THE OUTSIDE UNIT
Layers of leaves, sticks, debris, and dust can obstruct or diminish the unit’s airflow. For optimal functioning, try keeping plants and trees at least two feet from the unit. Once a year, power down and spray it with a garden hose. If the equipment needs deeper cleaning, call an expert for service. The highly trained technicians of award-winning Progressive Air Systems, Inc. can efficiently and economically assist you with this, as well as any related issues.
Sealing and insulating ducts can improve your heating and cooling system 20 percent or more. These areas include the crawlspace, attic, garage or basement. Plug seams and duct connections with duct sealant or foil tape, then wrap them with insulation to prevent them from losing cool air in the summer and hot air in the winter. If you’re deliberating whether to replacing your heating/cooling system, examine your ducts first as they may be the real offender.
REPLACE YOUR SYSTEM WITH ENERGY STAR EQUIPMENT
Energy Star was developed in 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) for reducing energy use and pollution. They developed a system of labeling energy-efficient, cost-effective products. Products that are awarded the Energy Star (the bright yellow and black label found on numerous appliances) must meet strict energy usage criteria.
Installing an Energy Star heating and cooling system can reduce your energy expenses by as much as 20 percent. Upfront costs may be a bit high, but in the long run, you’ll save thousands of dollars. Also look for cooling equipment with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 16 or more and heating equipment with at least an 80 percent annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE).
SCHEDULE ANNUAL CHECKUPS
Keep your system in top form with annual maintenance. The specialist will check fluids, clean coils and replace your filter. These checkups encourage optimal performance and nip potential issues in the bud. These preventative measures will forestall expensive future repairs.
Whether you want to heat things up or play it cool, Progressive Air Systems, Inc. will conscientiously and capably replace your HVAC system or fix existing issues. We’ve served Florida’s West Coast for 33 years and would be happy to serve your needs, as well. Please call us to schedule a consultation.