Energy efficiency should be a primary concern at all times. How efficiently energy is used directly translates to how much the bills will cost at the end of each month.
Does this mean being stringent and monitoring that thermostat day and night? Well, it can, but there are much simpler solutions.
Some methods of increasing energy efficiency come in the form of investments that will pay themselves off over time. Others are simple steps you can take to improve the overall performance of your HVAC system.
What Does Energy Efficiency Mean?
Think smarter, not harder.
Energy efficiency is a means of reducing the amount of effort it takes to achieve the same results. If you could lower energy costs while getting the same performance from your home’s HVAC system, you would.
Reducing energy consumption is excellent for you because it will lower the amount of money you’re spending to heat or cool your home each month. While this is the primary motivator for most individuals, there are even more benefactors.
It’s no secret that means of producing the energy we are supplied with have an impact on the environment. Alone, our efforts may seem minimal, but if we all work to be more efficient, we can significantly reduce global energy consumption and harmful byproducts of energy production.
Another thing to consider is that efficiency doesn’t only refer to how much power will be consumed. It also directly relates to how hard the system will have to work to achieve its goal. The harder the system has to work, the shorter its lifespan will be.
This again translates to money coming out of your pocket for repairs and replacements. While these costs aren’t as frequent, they can have a much higher price tag.
How Can I Optimize My HVAC Unit?
What can be done to increase the efficiency of your HVAC unit? Well, this depends on a few factors. Most notably, the age and condition of the HVAC system.
HVAC systems consist of many parts, and the condition of each will impact the overall efficiency of the system. Begin by taking a look for any apparent issues. Maybe the ducts are dated and leaking, perhaps the bearings of any number of fans and motors are on their way out. It can even be as simple as dust and dirt built-up and hindering the function of components.
Most signs of a system that needs updates will jump right out at you. Others may require a keen eye and experienced hand. Either way, it shouldn’t stop you from seeking better performance from your system.
Here are some simple updates or steps you can take to aid with optimizing your system:
Ducts are often sources of leaks and heat loss that will have a significant impact on efficiency. Even vents that appear to be in excellent condition can have these issues. Simply adding a layer of insulation to the exterior of the ducts can completely transform the system.
Insulation wrap for ducts keeps the air within at a constant temperature, and also prevents any from escaping.
This translates to heating or cooling systems having to work less to achieve desired temperatures. It also means the fans will have to work less to provide ample flow to transfer the air.
Regular HVAC maintenance is a great way to keep tabs on the system and replace any components that are drawing performance down. You can perform routine maintenance yourself or hire professional HVAC techs to do it for you.
Many parts of the system will collect dirt and debris that will reduce heating and cooling abilities of the system. Removing dust and dirt from vents, coils, ducts, and anywhere else is a significant energy saving step most anyone can take.
Update the System
The HVAC industry is continuously evolving, and every year better performing and energy-efficient tech hits the market. This does not mean you must replace your system every time there is an update, but it does mean that better options are out there.
If you’re system is dated, making a complete overhaul can significantly reduce energy consumption. While it is a more significant investment upfront, it may be pennies on the dollar compared to what you will spend on bills.
Making the upgrade to a programmable thermostat is another simple energy-saving step most people can take. These thermostats can be set to heat and cool the home at different times of the day.
If you’re at work, the system can remain dormant until you are on your way home. When paired with a zoning system, they may even work to heat or cool different parts of the home to maximize efficiency further.
How Can I Optimize My Home?
An HVAC system may be what’s at work, but shouldn’t be all the focus. The home itself is the most significant contributor to energy efficiency. Here are some ways to optimize your home:
- Seal windows and doors
- Don’t block vent registers
- Use proper insulation
- Keep areas near system components clean
- Close curtains and blinds
- Close windows and doors
If a house is poorly insulated and sealed, the system will have to work harder to bring indoor temperatures to a desirable level. The system will also have to operate more frequently to maintain temperatures.
Additionally, clutter around and neglect of the system will reduce performance. Toys, leaves, or anything else near the base of an outdoor AC unit will significantly reduce its efficiency. Blocking vent registers in the home with furniture or clutter will have similar effects.
Reducing the impact of factors outside the home will reduce the system’s efforts. Closing the blinds during the summer prevents thermal energy from heating the home. And while it may be tempting to let that fresh air in, open windows and doors are detrimental to an HVAC system’s function.
Working with energy efficiency in mind takes a little bit of money and a lot of conscious effort. Though, after time, your efforts will become habitual.
Yes, it may cost money upfront, but you’ll be saving a substantial amount in the long run. It’s also a giant plus that you and millions of others will be working to create a healthier planet.