HVAC 101: How to Increase the Efficiency of Your HVAC System

Group of Air Conditioning Units At Apartment Complex
Would you like to learn how to increase the efficiency of your HVAC system? This HVAC 101 guide will tell you everything you need to know.

Have you noticed the air throughout your home feels a little stuffy lately? Maybe you’ve noted a sudden spike in your energy bills. If your HVAC system isn’t running efficiently, it could cause an increase in energy costs.

In fact, routine AC maintenance can reduce energy costs by up to 40%. With this HVAC 101 guide, you can improve your unit’s efficiency with ease.

Here are the 10 tips you need when learning how to improve your HVAC efficiency. Neglecting routine maintenance, however, could cause your unit to work overtime. In addition to increasing costs, it could break down sooner than expected, too.

Don’t let that happen. Instead, ensure the efficiency of your HVAC unit using these 10 simple tips today!

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1. Consider Retrofitting

First, consider retrofitting an old HVAC system to improve its energy usage.

Retrofitting involves adding new technology and features to an old but still working air conditioning system. This option is ideal if you’re sick of making repairs to an old unit. However, you might not want to invest in a brand new system if the unit still functions overall.

Some homeowners also consider retrofitting when they need to buy a little time before investing in a brand new system. This process can also boost your HVAC unit’s efficiency, improving your overall comfort.

Before you retrofit an old system, make sure it’s energy-intensive, gets a lot of use, and is well maintained.

If you have a large, energy-intensive system, a few small updates can impact its energy use. First, make sure you’re updating a unit that you’ve maintained over the years. Then, consider:

  • Replacing the system’s compressor
  • Adding air side economizers
  • Adding condenser fan controls

A few small changes can help you take advantage of the cool air that’s outside. Your unit won’t have to work as hard to produce cool air throughout your home. If the unit isn’t working as hard, its energy efficiency will improve.

Consider working with an experienced heating and cooling company. They can help you determine which upgrades will improve the unit’s energy efficiency. With their help, you can extend the lifespan of your unit by making informed upgrades.

2. Reduce Heat Gain

You can also improve the unit’s overall energy efficiency by reducing its heat gain.

Start by sealing your air leaks.

If your home allows air to escape, the unit will have to work twice as hard to keep the air cool. Older homes usually aren’t sealed properly. Air sealing could improve your current heat gain problem.

Make sure there aren’t any leaks on your ceiling. Remember, heat rises.

Otherwise, consider adding insulation throughout your home. Start by checking your attic. That’s where the highest temperatures are.

If your attic isn’t properly insulated, consider calling a professional team for help. Make sure you’ve sealed the air leaks in your attic first.

While you’re at it, make sure to spread out the insulation, too. If the insulation wasn’t evenly distributed, it could cause additional heat gain.

Make sure you’re keeping the sun out as well. If your home gets direct sunlight, heating and cooling can become a challenge. Consider adding shades to your windows. It helps to add shades to both the inside and outside.

You can also switch to more efficient lights and appliances. Otherwise, your lights and electric appliances can waste a lot of heat.

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3. Use a Programmable Thermostat

As you start using this HVAC 101 guide, consider making a few changes to the controls and systems you use. For example, you might want to switch to a programmable thermostat.

People often forget to turn down their thermostat; it’s normal. However, having an automated system could improve your HVAC efficiency in the long run. You can control your thermostat and lights remotely, too.

Consider setting your system to a schedule. You can set it and forget it while improving your heating and cooling costs.

4. Clean the Unit

If you want to keep your HVAC system running at its best this year, make a note to clean the system every few months.

For example, you’ll need to replace your dirty filters every three months. Otherwise, dust, dander, and other pollutants can clog the filter. If the filter is clogged, airflow will drop.

Your HVAC unit will have to work twice as hard to push clean air through. The unit’s energy efficiency could drop, increasing heating and cooling costs.

Instead, make a note to replace your filter every few three months (or more often if you have pets).

It’s important to keep the vents clear, too. Many people unintentionally cover the vents with dog beds, dressers, or furniture. You could choke off airflow as a result.

Meanwhile, the vent will increase pressure in the duct system. The airflow through your home drop even further.

Instead, make sure the return and supply vents are able to move air with ease.

Talk to your local heating and cooling company about other duct airflow problems you might need to remedy, too. With their help, you can improve your airflow and reduce energy costs.

5. Consider Your Model

If your HVAC system is old, outdated, and struggling to work, consider purchasing a brand new system. Try to find a new, energy-efficient system with energy-efficiency HVAC ducting. You can also purchase units with high SEER ratings.

Otherwise, look for an Energy Star-Rated model. These models already adhere to strict energy efficiency guidelines. You’ll have less to worry about over the years by choosing an already efficient model.

If the unit is only 10 years old, you can save 40% of your cooling costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.

Consider where your unit is located, too. Try to place the unit away from excessive sunlight. Otherwise, it could overheat, leading to more energy use.

Make sure you choose a unit that’s the right size for your home as well. If the unit is too small, it will have to work twice as hard. If the unit is too big, it could use too much energy.

Talk to an HVAC technician to find the unit that’s right for you.

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6. Adjust the Temperature

You might not notice if your HVAC system goes up or down a degree throughout the day. Making small adjustments to your thermostat could benefit your HVAC efficiency in the long run.

Keep track of temperature changes outside. Then, set the system to a temperature that’s closer to outdoor temperatures. This small adjustment could keep your unit from working twice as hard.

7. Start Using Fans

Take advantage of the floor fans and ceiling fans throughout your home. Using these fans during the summer months can give your HVAC unit a break. You can set the unit’s fan off while turning on the room fans instead.

Using ceiling fans can help the air throughout your home circulate better, too.

Meanwhile, each room will benefit from having evenly distributed hot or cold air.

8. Power Down

Consider the machines, computers, exercise equipment, and other devices throughout your home. When you’re not using them, shut them off. Otherwise, these electronics can generate excess heat and energy.

Your AC unit will have to work twice as hard to cool down your home as a result.

9. Use Curtains and Blinds

When summer starts to set in, keep your curtains closed throughout the day. You can block the summer heat and UV rays from entering your home. Otherwise, consider energy-efficient windows that keep the sun’s rays at bay.

You can also open the curtains during the winter. Allowing even a small amount of sunlight in can naturally warm your home.

Your HVAC system will have less to do as a result.

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10. Schedule Routine Maintenance

There are over 120,6000 heating and air conditioning contractors throughout the US. Find an experienced HVAC system company in your area. Then, ask if they offer preventative maintenance checks.

Scheduling routine maintenance for your unit can help you spot small issues before they become major problems. Otherwise, you might not recognize a problem with the unit. Remember, your unit could work twice as hard to operate as a result.

When your HVAC system has to work harder to run, it can wear down components. Wear and tear over time could cause the entire system to break. You might have to replace the entire unit if that happens.

Before that can happen, talk to your local heating and cooling company. They can arrive in the spring or fall (before peak temperatures set in).

Then, you can ensure your unit is working at its best during the summer and winter months.

If there is a problem with the HVAC system, your technician will recognize it before it can get worse. They can make the necessary changes to your unit before it breaks down.

With their help, you won’t have to pay for expensive repairs or a brand new system. Instead, you can learn how to improve your HVAC efficiency by leveraging their expertise.

HVAC 101: 10 Tips for Improving Energy Efficiency

Don’t let your HVAC system cause unnecessary energy use. Instead, improve your HVAC efficiency with this HVAC 101 guide. Using these tips, you can cut back on energy use and unnecessary spending.

Start putting that money back in your wallet instead.

Want to schedule your HVAC preventative maintenance with a member of our team? We’re here to help.

Contact us today to get started.

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