Going Green with Your HVAC System
Here are few of our favorite simple tips for helping get the most out of your HVAC system for saving money, energy, and the environment.
Consider Upgrading to Higher Efficiency Equipment
Who wouldn’t want to save money on their monthly energy bills? According to EnergyStar, your heating and cooling system may be responsible for up to half of your energy bill. There could be many reasons for your high energy bills, but your air conditioning unit SEER rating, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, may a contributing factor. The higher the SEER rating, the less energy the unit will use. Call Atlanta Air Authority today to get your free in home replacement estimate.
SmarterHouse.org states that replacing a furnace with a modern high-efficiency model may be a good investment. If your air conditioner is over 10 years old, you may save up to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.
Energystar.gov’s online assessment tool can be used to compare your home’s annual energy use to similar homes in your area. The site suggests that if your home scores below a five, “you’re probably paying more than you need to on energy bills.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sets regional minimum energy efficiency standards for air conditioners. Currently, the minimum SEER rating for central air conditioners is 14 in the South and Southwest regions of the U.S. and 13 in the North.
Maintain Your HVAC Equipment
Heating and cooling equipment all need to be regularly cleaned and maintained in order to work efficiently. The following complications can happen when maintenance falls behind:
- Dust and debris can build up on your air conditioner’s coils, which compromises the heat transfer and makes the system not cool as effectively.
- Electrical components can falter but still operate causing the system to work harder and less efficient.
- If your air filters aren’t changed regularly, dust and contaminants will settle in the system, which limits airflow to the furnace and air conditioner. Your system will run longer and work harder in order to keep the building at a comfortable temperature.
By following these tips, you can save energy without sacrificing your comfort or the comfort of those in your building
Check or add insulation around your HVAC ducting, pipes and electrical outlets. This will reduce how much air conditioning and heat is lost in a way that doesn’t burden anyone in the building. Ductwork that hasn’t been regularly cleaned or inspected can have compromised insulation. This insulation often has tears and holes where cool air escapes from the air conditioner and warm air escapes from the furnace.
In addition your HVAC system works hard to produce the hot and cool air that keeps you and your family comfortable, which is why it’s so important to keep as much of that air in house as possible. Insulating the attic and top-floor crawlspace ceilings can help get the most out of your HVAC system’s efforts. In the wintertime, the heat produced by your furnace gradually moves upward toward the roof. By insulating the ceilings on the top floor, you can keep more of that warm air in your home.
A programmable thermostat can change the temperature in your house according to your daily schedule. For example, if your family is typically out of the house during most of the day, your thermostat might adjust the temperature until just before you return, and do the same in the evening when you go to bed. By heating or cooling your home only during the times that matter, you can put a serious dent in your energy bill. Ask your Atlanta Air Authority tech as to what would be the best option for your home and system.
Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment
If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by more than $115. But before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your HVAC equipment.
Open All of the Vents in the Home
It was once thought that closing the vents in unused or empty rooms would help to reduce the home’s cooling needs. But, this is now known to be false. Your HVAC system is specially designed to operate with all of the vents open. Closed vents will force the system to work out of balance and this can reduce the HVAC’s efficiency.
The percentage of your energy bill that typically goes to your HVAC
Replace your old lightbulbs
New light bulbs don’t use as much energy and last longer and they also don’t tend to run as hot. Replacing an old lightbulb can ultimately save you from having to turn down your thermostat a few degrees or having to turn on a fan.
Turn down the temp
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lowering the temperature on your water heater by just 10 degrees can yield a $12 to $30 reduction in energy costs annually. Also, taking a cooler shower or bath means lower energy use, from your HVAC unit to cool your home afterward.
You can also lower your HVAC thermostat Each one-degree drop can reduce your energy bill by 1-3 percent. Also to save even more money, drop your thermostat by five to ten degrees while you sleep. Not only will you get a better night’s sleep, you’ll lower your energy bill by 10-15 percent. Consider a programmable thermostat to automate this for you!
Consider a Home Energy Audit
If you’re very concerned about your energy consumption and high bills perhaps consider a home energy audit. There are many of these companies around but usually the power company will offer this service too. Some of their solutions can be over the top but from time to time they’ll find some basic issues you may not even be aware of in your home. Low insulation, draft issues, maybe unsealed penetrations in your home’s exterior, these are all examples of issues that can be hard to notice.