Many homeowners around California, MD see their electric bills spike over the summer as they run their air conditioning. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to improve how efficiently your system cools your home during the summer and heats it in the winter. Leverage these seven tips for boosting your HVAC’s efficiency and reduce how much you pay for energy year-round.
1. Change Your Filter Regularly
Start by keeping air flowing through your HVAC effectively throughout the summer and winter by changing your filter regularly. Most 1- and 2-inch filters need changing every 90 days or so.
Your air quality and how you use your system will affect how often it needs changing. To keep it from clogging, plan to check it every month. Replace it when you see dust and dirt collecting on the intake side.
2. Reduce Solar Heating
The sun shining through your windows will increase how hard your AC must work. Plan to keep window blinds or curtains closed when the sun shines on them directly, reducing solar heating. During the winter, make use of this solar heating by letting the sun shine in your home.
3. Leverage Thermostat Programs
Many people leave their thermostats set to the same temperature all the time. Most people aren’t home during the heat of the day, making it a waste to keep the temperature the same.
Most digital thermostats offer some programs that allow you to adjust the temperature automatically. The Department of Energy suggests that increasing the temperature in summer and decreasing it in the winter, while you’re away can reduce your cost by up to 10%.
4. Improve Air Circulation
The better the air moves around your home, the more comfortable it will be, and the more efficiently it will cool. Closed and blocked supply vents are key inhibitors of airflow through the ductwork.
The system cannot function properly with closed or blocked vents. Keep all of your vents open, and give each at least a 6-inch clearance above and around it.
5. Maintain Your Condensing Unit
Your condensing unit sits outside your home and is as dependent on airflow as your system inside. If it cannot move air through the condensing coil and vent the radiant energy out effectively, it will drive down the system’s efficiency.
The first step to maintaining your unit is keeping the area around it clear. Industry recommendations are that you keep at least 2 feet around the unit clear and ideally 5 feet above it. Make sure to trim back bushes, shrubs, grass, weeds and other landscaping items.
6. Improve Indoor Air Quality
Your indoor air quality will affect how quickly your air filter and ducts will clog and restrict airflow. Consider how you can improve your indoor air quality by reducing the contaminants the air carries.
Start by managing your humidity, keeping it between 30% and 50% as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency. Talk with an IAQ expert about whether you would benefit from a whole-house air purifier or ventilator.
7. Get Annual AC Maintenance
Finally, be sure to keep current on your annual HVAC maintenance. Your system will collect contaminants inside the units and need cleaning. Further, electrical connections and mounting hardware will loosen, and components will fail. All of this adds stress to the system and decreases its cooling efficiency.
Your maintenance technician will clean your system to prevent any airflow restrictions at the coils or fans. Then, they will test the system to look for anything operating sub-optimally, which may cause additional strain.
We provide residential and commercial heating and cooling installation, maintenance and repair services as well as thermostats and indoor air quality products. Keep your HVAC’s efficiency at its peak level from year to year. Call to schedule your annual AC maintenance with one of the NATE-certified technicians at Hancock Refrigeration Heating & Air Conditioning in the Leonardtown, MD area.
Image provided by iStock