It starts as the temperatures continue to fall. The first frost warning is advised. The first snowflake falls from the sky.
While the temperatures may still fluctuate 30, 40, 50 degrees, or more during one day, it’s time to get your HVAC system ready for a new season. You’ve used your air conditioner almost daily for months now. Your furnace has turned on a time or two, and it’s gearing up for daily use.
But the energy bills! According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling are the largest expense for most homes. What can you do?
How do you increase your HVAC efficiency to ensure the utility bills stay as low as possible, while the inside air stays comfortable?
Change out your air filter – this is one of the easiest maintenance items you can perform, yet it can greatly impact both your utility bill cost and your comfort levels. A dirty air filter won’t allow air to flow through it as well as a clean one. If air can’t move through, it can’t circulate throughout the system, impacting every step of the process. A furnace filter’s job is to prevent debris from entering the furnace, which can cause havoc on the internal working components. What’s cleaner going in is also cleaner coming out, meaning it helps to keep the air you’re breathing healthier too.
Clean in and around your vents – home maintenance often means boxing things up, stacking them in corners, and rearranging the stuff inside your home. Take a tour of your home and pay attention to each vent in every room. Is something blocking it? Is it clean and dust-free? The HVAC system is designed to push air through every vent. If one is blocked or clogged, it can’t complete its job efficiently, putting more stress on the entire system, and creating a less efficient process.
Check your doors and windows – one of the biggest areas for heat loss exists around your doors and windows. Check for potential spots where heat loss is occurring. Update weatherstripping. Replace windows and doors as necessary.
Upgraded thermostat – when was the last time you upgraded your thermostat? It’s one of the easiest ways to increase your HVAC system’s efficiency. A programmable thermostat allows you to establish different times of the day for your furnace to run. This means no more controlling the temperature by turning the temperature dial as you’re warm or cold. It also ensures you don’t forget to adjust the temperature when you’ll be gone all day to work, or when you’re tucked in bed for the night. It can also help you see where your efficiencies are weak, and where you can make your biggest improvements.
It’s time for a tune-up – think of how many times your furnace turns on each day. The average run time is about 10-15 minutes per cycle, which means it will run two or three times each hour to ensure your home stays at your desired temperature. That’s a lot of pressure moving through the system, expanding and contracting the ductwork, blowing conditioned air throughout the vents. One loose part can wreak havoc on the system. The easiest way to ensure everything is working well is for an annual tune-up before the heart of the winter season is upon us. This is your best action step to ensure you won’t have a “no heat” day on the coldest day of the year. It allows you to fix minor issues before they escalate to bigger problems.
Want to increase HVAC efficiency? It’s easy. With a few steps each year, your entire HVAC system will operate well, keeping you comfortable every day of the year.