Modern HVAC systems ensure that we’re comfortable all year round, but that comfort comes at a price. In the U.S., the average family spends over $2,000 each year on utility bills. Here at MM Comfort Systems, we realize you’d rather keep some of that money in your pocket, which is why we put together a list of ten easy ways you can improve your HVAC system’s energy efficiency. Since 1977, the technicians at MM Comfort Systems have helped homeowners in the Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma areas keep their HVAC systems in peak condition through our high-quality heating and cooling services. Boosting your home’s energy efficiency is an essential step toward getting your utility bills in check. From scheduling routine maintenance to closing your blinds during the hottest time of the day, there are many strategies you can use to make sure your heater and air conditioner are running at peak performance. Let’s take a look at the various ways we recommend for keeping your HVAC equipment energy-efficient.
1. Program the Thermostat
Did you know that adjusting your thermostat by 10 degrees for 8 hours a day can help you save 15% a year on your energy costs? The thermostat is the device that tells your HVAC system what temperature to run at. Most modern thermostats are programmable, but not all homeowners take advantage of this feature. When you program a thermostat, you can set the desired temperature to change at different times throughout the day. For example, many people like to program their thermostats to run at a more relaxed temperature during the day while they’re at work and then schedule the HVAC to kick back on when they arrive home in the evening.
2. Change the Air Filter
Your HVAC system relies on a disposable air filter to protect it from getting clogged with dust and other debris. When the filter gets dirty, the heating and cooling system has to work harder to push air through, which results in higher energy consumption. Changing your air filter every three months will help reduce the strain that your HVAC system undergoes and make your home more energy-efficient. Plus, clean systems are less likely to need repairs.
3. Inspect the Ductwork
After air has been treated by the air conditioner or furnace, it’s transported throughout your home via a system of vents and ducts called ductwork. Most of your home’s ductwork is hidden behind the walls, but you can see the beginning of it protruding from the top of your furnace. Although ductwork is designed to transport air in a very efficient manner, issues can arise that decrease that efficiency. The two main causes of heat loss via ductwork are air leaks and dirty ducts. If you haven’t had your ducts cleaned and inspected in the last five years, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our expert HVAC technicians.
4. Close Curtains and Blinds
Making your HVAC system more energy-efficient is about more than just maintaining the system itself. In fact, there are simple things you can do around your house to make your heating and cooling system’s job easier. One of the easiest things you can do is close your blinds and curtains during the day. By blocking heat and sunlight from entering your home, the internal temperature remains cooler. During the winter, you should open the blinds to let in as much sunlight and warmth as possible to naturally raise your home’s internal temperature. The less your HVAC system has to work, the more energy-efficient it will be.
5. Seal Drafts and Air Leaks
It’s common for older homes to develop air leaks as they age. Air leaks are most often found around external-facing doors and windows, but they can also develop in the attic, basement or crawl space. When air leaks in from the outside, it makes your HVAC system run more frequently to compensate for the change in temperature. This is also why we recommend closing all the doors and windows before turning on your air conditioner or heater.
6. Turn Down the Thermostat
Does your HVAC need to be running full blast all season long? Turning it down a few degrees can go a long way toward cutting your energy usage. The key to keeping your home comfortable is wearing layers. During the winter, we recommend putting on a sweater or a pair of wooly socks instead of turning up the furnace. During summer, you can swap your sweaters for lighter clothing instead of cranking up the AC.
7. Optimize Your HVAC System’s Performance
If you don’t stick to a proper maintenance routine, your HVAC system will gradually become less and less efficient. While certain HVAC maintenance steps should be taken care of by a professional, there are others you can undertake on your own to ensure your system is running at optimal efficiency. Changing the air filter, freshening up the thermostat batteries and cleaning up any debris around the external equipment are a few items you should take care of regularly.
8. Use Your Stove and Dryer Strategically
Certain household appliances like your oven, stove and dryer, give off a great deal of heat when they’re in use. This isn’t likely to be an issue during the winter, but having extra heat in your home during the summer can cause you to turn the thermostat down by a few degrees. Try to avoid using heat-generating appliances during the hottest part of the day. By waiting until the cooler nighttime, you’re helping maintain your home’s energy efficiency.
9. Schedule a Routine Tune-Up
The best thing you can do to maintain your HVAC system’s energy efficiency is to schedule a regular tune-up with MM Comfort Systems. Twice a year, we’ll send out a technician to run through a thorough inspection of either your heating or cooling equipment. Not only will we clean out the system, but we’ll also check the thermostat and ductwork. Plus, if we notice anything wrong mechanically, we’ll catch the problem early and repair it before it grows into a major issue. Annual furnace and AC maintenance will keep your system running at peak energy efficiency for years to come.
10. Upgrade Your Old System
Most residential furnaces and air conditioners will last between ten and fifteen years with proper maintenance, and when it comes time to upgrade you have the opportunity to make your home more energy-efficient. Technology updates in the heating and cooling field mean that newer and more energy-efficient systems are coming out each year. HVAC system components have an energy efficiency rating, such as SEER, that expresses how well it functions; a higher number means greater efficiency. While replacing your system is certainly more expensive than some of the other items on this list, your new equipment will eventually recoup its cost in terms of lower heating and cooling bills. If you’re interested in upgrading your system, our knowledgeable representatives can help you choose a model with a high-efficiency rating and ensure it suits your space and budget.
Quality HVAC Service in Seattle
Would you like to learn more about improving the energy efficiency of your HVAC system? The knowledgeable technicians at MM Comfort Systems are here to help. We have the training and expertise to make sure your equipment is running at peak efficiency, and besides our maintenance service, we can also assist you with repairs or installations anywhere in the Greater Seattle area. Give us a call today in Seattle, Redmond or Tacoma.