According to ENERGY STAR, the average household spends over $1,000 a year on heating and cooling costs! By far, your HVAC system consumes the most household energy. Additionally, the energy consumed by the average HVAC system emits about twice the amount of greenhouse gases as the average car.
So, if you want more money, comfort, and peace of mind, here are some ways you can improve your home’s heating and cooling efficiency.
If you have rooms that are too hot or too cold
Sometimes, hot and cold spots can be caused by air leaks and insufficient insulation. It doesn’t matter how efficient your HVAC system is—if you have air leaks and low R-value (thermal resistance rating), then your home is not properly sealed and insulated.
You can check for air leaks around suspected areas with a simple air leak test. Simply hold up a lit piece of incense or thin piece of toilet paper around a suspected air leak. If you notice the smoke or paper moving erratically then you have an air leak.
An easier solution would be to consult with your HVAC professional about energy leaks in your home. They might be able to conduct a home energy audit, which includes a blower door test. This accurately pinpoints all of the air leaks and energy inefficiencies in the home.
If you have humidity problems
There are a variety of reasons why you might have humidity problems in the home, including leaking gutters, insufficient water drainage, and foundation problems.
Hopefully, it’s simpler than that, but you should also consider leaky ductwork to be the cause. Speak with a certified HVAC contractor about air leaks and humidity problems in the home. Our HVAC team would be more than happy to diagnose your humidity problems and recommend customized solutions for your home.
If your energy bills are going up
Besides the possibility of your HVAC system reaching the end of its lifespan, there are other reasons as well.
Have you been scheduling annual maintenance for your heating and cooling systems? It’s highly recommended that you schedule A/C maintenance in the spring and heating maintenance in the fall.
You may also be losing significant conditioned air due to air duct leaks. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average home loses around 20-30% of their conditioned air due to leaks in the ductwork.
Here are some signs that you have leaky ductwork:
- Abnormally high HVAC bills
- Poor airflow and difficulty heating and/or cooling rooms
- Stuffy rooms that don’t feel comfortable
- Lots of ductwork in attics, crawlspaces, and garages
- Evidence of dust swirling around air ducts
You can test for air duct leaks by holding up a thin piece of toilet paper near duct connections. If it begins to move, you have a leak. Learn about PureFlow professional air duct insulation.
Improperly installed HVAC systems, including ductwork, are a common cause of high energy bills. Learn how to choose and install the right HVAC system.
If your HVAC system is old
The age of your heating and cooling system has a lot to do with your home’s overall energy efficiency. If you have a furnace that is over 15 years old or an air conditioner that is over 10 years old, consider purchasing a new one from a qualified HVAC contractor.
If you have an analog or manual thermostat
You could be missing out on a huge energy-saving opportunity if you still have an analog or mechanical thermostat. Learn how to choose the right thermostat for your home and the ideal summer and winter settings. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat or if it seems to be acting strangely, try these thermostat troubleshooting steps first. If it’s still not working properly, call your local HVAC technician to take a look.
Make sure your thermostat is away from heat-producing appliances, windows, and other sources of heat. Also, don’t “oversteer” the thermostat. It won’t heat or cool your home any faster and could potentially waste a lot of energy.
If you measure your attic’s insulation and it’s below 5
A quick way to tell if you have insufficient insulation is by heading into the attic with a measuring stick and measuring the depth of your insulation. It depends on where you live, but generally if you have insulation below 5 inches, you could definitely benefit from increased insulation.
Learn all about attic insulation, including how to measure and improve your insulation, whether it be with fiberglass batts or spray foam insulation.
Additional HVAC Safety & Efficiency Tips
- Check your HVAC filter every 30 days and wait no longer than 90 days to clean or replace it.
- Be aware of any spikes in your heating and/or cooling bill, especially if there is no significant increase in usage.
- If you hear loud clunking, clanking, knocking, or other sounds, turn the system off and call a professional HVAC technician.
- If your home is too humid or too dry, call a professional. This is especially important if you notice condensation near your furnace. Condensation on furnace flues can indicate a serious problem with the combustion process. When hot gases are not venting properly, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up and pose a serious health hazard. Turn your system off and call a professional HVAC technician to inspect the combustion process.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month.
- Call a professional if your HVAC breaker keeps tripping.
- Make sure all fuel-burning equipment has proper ventilation. Periodically check your outdoor vents for obstructions.
- If your furnace is over 15 years old, it may be time for a replacement.
- Have your HVAC equipment professionally inspected at least once a year, ideally once in the fall for your heating system and once in the spring for your cooling system.
- Make sure all maintenance and repairs are performed by a certified HVAC technician.
- HVAC Frequently Asked Questions
- Cut Down Costs with These 7 Simple and Energy-Efficient Home Upgrades
- How Can I Maximize My Energy Savings
- Passive Heating and Cooling Window Strategies
- 10 Ways to Control Energy Use in the Spring
- Understanding HVAC Energy Efficiency Ratings
- Your HVAC Maintenance Guide for All Seasons
Service Champions is known for trustworthy, on-time heating and air conditioning service throughout the East Bay, South Bay, and Sacramento areas.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us.