Extremely high energy costs are forcing many of us to look for ways to lower our utility bills. If you are wondering how to save energy with your HVAC system, we’ve got proven tips that might lower your bills significantly. Most of these are DIY projects – things you can do yourself – and all of them except the last one are very affordable. The sooner you tackle them, the sooner you’ll see relief from ridiculously high gas and electric bills.
1. Use a programmable thermostat to stop wasting energy
Many of us keep our homes comfortably heated and cooled when no one is home! In the winter, turn down the heat to 55 or 60 degrees when everyone is gone during the day – or everyone is asleep at night. The pipes won’t freeze and the dog won’t mind. In summer, let the house warm up to 80 while you’re at work and the kids are at school. Program the system to warm or cool the house back to a comfortable level, starting a half-hour before anyone gets up or gets home. It’s a simple step that by itself can save you $25 to $100 a month.
2. Make sure your duct work is well sealed
Leaks in the ducts can waste up to 15% of the air you pay to heat or cool. Use high-quality metal duct tape or mastic to do the job. Cheap plastic or vinyl duct tape isn’t sufficient. Tape every joint or seam you can get to, whether or not there is a visible gap in it.
3. Have your HVAC system cleaned and tuned
Standard maintenance on an HVAC system can improve its efficiency by 30% or more. For example, a 16 SEER condensing unit with dirty coils may only be running at 10-13 SEER as a result. Dirty burners or blower motors that are out of adjustment can also cause diminished efficiency. Having your HVAC system cleaned and inspected annually will improve its performance – and may also protect it against costly repairs.
4. Add a layer of insulation to the attic
This will keep your HVAC system from working harder than it needs to, wasting energy and money. You get a lot of bang for your buck with insulation. When you are heating your home, it keeps the warm air from escaping into the attic or through the roof. When you are cooling your home, it keeps the cool air in and also prevents hot air in the attic from squeezing into your living space.
5. When you need to replace a furnace, heat pump or central AC, upgrade to a more energy-efficient model
Read HVAC ratings to find efficient HVAC components with a good record for reliability and durability. Choose a system that matches your budget and the demands of your climate (high-efficiency furnace for cool climates, high-efficiency air conditioner for warm climates) and start saving money immediately.
If you want to know how to save energy with your HVAC system, these 5 steps may reduce your energy consumption – and your utility bills – by 40% or more. Do the ones you can afford and you’ll enjoy immediate energy and cost savings.