Americans spend a lot of money on heating and cooling every year. Estimates are that most of us spend around 7 percent of our income just on energy. Since energy does cost so much, it is important to know how to get the most out of an HVAC unit.
Keep your vents in good condition
Your HVAC vents, located in each room, are essential to keeping your home comfortable. If these vents get clogged and covered with dust, they will not work efficiently. It is also important to make sure they are not being covered by furniture, carpet, or drapes.
Change out your air filter
Your HVAC system relies on an air filter to keep excess dust and dirt out of the system. This air filter also cleans the air so you and your family can breathe easily. The filter needs to be changed at least every six months and even more if you have pets or live in a dusty area.
If the filter doesn’t get changed, it can make breathing more difficult for those with allergies or breathing conditions. It will also force your HVAC unit to work harder, meaning less efficiency and higher costs.
Clean the outdoor unit
Your outdoor HVAC system can easily get clogged up with dirt, dust, and leaves. While you should leave the deep-cleaning to the Affordable Air Conditioning and Heat professionals, you can and should occasionally vacuum the coils yourself and keep the unit free of yard debris.
Get a smart thermostat
If you have not gotten a smart thermostat already, it is time to get one. A smart thermostat lets you set the temperature so you system comes on and off automatically; saving money while everyone is out of the house and coming back on to make things comfortable before they get home.
Protect your thermostat
The thermostat decides whether or not to turn on the unit by reading the temperature of the air around it. This means your thermostat needs to be in a central location and away from heat sources like lamps. It should also be kept well away from system vents.
Insulate your ductwork
One of the leakiest places in any HVAC system is the ductwork. If there are any holes here, it will seriously compromise your unit’s efficiency and the house will not feel comfortable. Fix any leaks you can see with duct tape,and be sure to schedule maintenance to have a professional take a look at the ductwork farther in.
Don’t overload the unit
On really hot days, take steps to make things easier for your unit. Don’t run your dryer or oven during the hottest times of day. If you have a west facing window, consider some window film that will reflect the worst of the heat. Some films also provide insulation help during the winter.
Consider turning things up or down a few degrees
You can save a lot of money just by turning your thermostat up a degree or two in the summer and down a bit in the winter. If things get too uncomfortable, try making the change more gradually. It doesn’t take long to get used to a new normal.
Clean out the unit drain line
The indoor cooling coil on your HVAC unit has a drain line. Keep this line inspected regularly so it doesn’t get blocked. This will keep your unit running more efficiently, especially in the summer. Run a little diluted bleach down the line once a month during the season you use the air conditioner.
Give your unit some help
Get some fans for the bedrooms so everyone can tolerate a slightly warmer room during the hotter months. In the winter, put extra blankets on the beds or get some warm flannel sheets. Ceiling fans placed in the main living areas will make your whole home feel much more comfortable.