When it comes to the systems that provide comfort while you’re in your home, your HVAC system, the one that provides home heating and cooling options, is one of the most important. But it’s not enough to simply have an HVAC installed, you need to take some steps to make sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck out of your system. Here are 10 ways you can get the most of your home heating and cooling options.
1. Make Sure Your System Is The Proper Size
Most homeowners don’t realize at first that the size of their HVAC system in conjunction with the size of their home can have a big impact on how efficient it is. A unit that’s too big will not be energy efficient and a unit that is too small won’t be effective in heating or cooling your home. If you want efficient and effective heaters and air conditioners, you need to make sure you’ve got the correctly sized system.
If you’re planning a new HVAC installation for your home, work with your HVAC professional to ensure that its the right size for your space. They can also tell you whether you need a local or central system, the best placement, as well as an estimated price for your home heating and cooling options.
2. Perform Regular Maintenance
Only about 40 percent of homeowners contact a professional to perform routine maintenance on their air conditioners. However, air conditioners that received regular HVAC maintenance last on average 40 perfect longer than those that do not receive regular maintenance. The opposite is similar for the home heating services aspect of your HVAC system.
HVAC systems are not cheap, replacing the different parts or even the entire system can run a big bill for homeowners. One major way to help your heating and cooling system last longer and work more efficiently is to get regular maintenance done. This doesn’t mean you need checkups every month. Professionals recommend annual service to be performed, some even create semi-annual contracts. Winter is the toughest time for an HVAC system to work, especially if you live in a colder area, so you may consider scheduling your service and maintenance for autumn.
Besides annual service, you should also have repairs done as soon as you notice a problem. Letting leaks or other issues go unfixed, even for a week or so, can make a problem much bigger and more expensive to fix. Air conditioning repair for major issues can be avoided as long as you schedule regular maintenance and get smalled problems fixed as soon as possible.
3. Schedule Specific Seasonal Maintenance
As previously mentioned, certain seasons mean your home heating and cooling options have to run harder. For winter, your heating system will generally be running for long portions of the day. Cold weather and ice can also damage your system if you haven’t taken the proper steps to protect it. Summer means your air conditioning will be running more. If you haven’t ensured that your home is protected from leaks, your system could be running even harder to compensate for the escaping cool air or in the incoming warm air.
Work with an HVAC technician to make sure you are prepared to take the steps to ensure your home heating and cooling options are prepared to run smoothly and efficiently during different seasons. If you have a semi-annual contract with your maintenance company, schedule those checkups accordingly with the different seasons.
4. Install A Programmable Thermostat
Another way to get the most out of your home heating and cooling options is to install a programmable thermostat in your home. If you have more ability to control the temperature and airflow in your home, you can keep an eye on how your HVAC system is working. Many homes have thermostats that change automatically based on readings of the temperature in the home and what has been programmed to be “ideal”. However, the “ideal” could be higher or lower than you prefer and could be running your system more heavily than it needs to be.
If you’re ready to control your energy costs, make sure to talk with engineers about which thermostat would work best with your preexisting HVAC system. You also want to make sure that the thermostat you choose to install has the correct controls that you’ll need. If you don’t have full access to raising and lower temperatures and even changing it per room or section of your house, you still won’t be getting the most from your HVAC system.
5. Adjust Your Thermostat
Not all of the ways to get the most from your HVAC system cost a lot of time and money. This is one of the easiest steps you’ll take to get the most from your home heating and cooling options: adjust your thermostat.
The simple step of raising the temperature a few degrees during the warmer months or lowering it a few degrees during winter can save you a lot of money on your utility bills and will help your system run more effectively. By lowering the work your HVAC system has to do, you’ll be cutting down on wear and tear and helping your system to last longer. Keep in mind, however, you still want to be comfortable. Find a happy medium between helping your system be effective but also being comfortable in your own home.
6. Seal Any Air Leaks
Sealing any possible areas where you could have leaks is another great way to make sure you’re getting the most from your home heating and cooling units. Leaks generally occur around windows or door frames and can put a lot of stress on your system to work harder than it needs to. Cool air will escape during summer and warm air during winter. In minor cases, you should be able to repair the seal around your window or door, but in major cases, you may need to replace the entire seal or even window. If you think you’ve got an issue with any seals in your home, here are a few ways you can check:
- Check to see if you can see daylight around your door or a window frame
- Check for a rattle around your seal when the wind is blowing
- Cracks or peeling seal may also cause leaks
You may also want to check electrical outlets, surprisingly they can be a source of leaks. For small leaks, you may be able to fix them by caulking or installing weather strips. If you need to make bigger changes, like installing new seals around your door or windows, talk with your HVAC professional about the best choices to help your home heating and cooling options run smoothly.
7. Clean Your System When Possible
Another cheap and easier step to take when trying to get the most from your home heating and cooling options is to frequently clean the parts of your system that you have access to. Here are some of the common ways homeowners can clean their HVAC system:
- Replace Your Filters: A dirty filter can’t do it’s job so make sure you are regularly replacing them. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends you replace your filters every three months. You may also consider replacing it more often if you have allergies. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using the right filter, as not all of them work as efficiently as others. Check out the MERV rating for the best filter options.
- Clean The Area Around Your Unit: You can usually find a big metal box outside your home that hums when your HVAC system turns on. If leaves, sticks, and dirt are collecting around the box, clear them away. You should also remove any plants that are growing within two feet of the box. This box is also where you’ll find pieces like HVAC compressors, coils, and fans that should be cleaned as well. The most important thing for your safety is to ensure that your system is powered off when you’re going to work on it.
- Clean The Vents: Air vents can collect a lot of dirt and debris if they’re not cleaned frequently. This can prevent airflow in your home and will negatively impact how your HVAC system works. Wipe down and vacuum out the vents monthly for the best possible results.
- Get Professional Help For the areas that you can’t access on your own, you’ll need to hire professional help. The ducts should be checked and cleaned every three to five years to clear out dirt build-up and ensure there are no holes. Clogs as also where bacteria and insects congregate, so without a good cleaning, your air could be blowing dangerous germs into your home.
Don’t skimp on this step. While many people think about the upgrades, repairs, and maintenance they can perform on their system, they may skip over the easiest steps. If you remember to follow these cleaning tips as well, you will be ensuring that you get the most from your home heating and cooling system.
8. Consider An Upgrade
If you find that even after regular maintenance, frequent cleaning, and adjusting the thermostat your system is still running poorly, it may be time to consider a replacement or upgrade. Take some time to calculate the money you could save by upgrading to a higher-tech system, not only on utility bills, but also on frequent repairs. Some of the newer home heating and cooling options can save you as much as 30 to 40 percent on your monthly utility bills. It will also give you peace of mind in knowing that the air in your home is clean and safe for your family.
9. Checkout Your Air Quality
If your system is working properly but you’re concerned about your air quality, such as if you or your family members have sensitive allergies, you may consider making some changes to your system. One great way to improve your air quality is to install additional ventilation options. Air purifiers and dehumidifiers can help to prevent bacteria and toxins from entering your home through the air. Talk with your HVAC professional or even an expert at your local hardware store about different equipment sales you can take advantage of to add these options to your home system.
10. Don’t Forget About Environmental Regulations
Many homeowners may not know that the government has set health, safety, and environmental regulations that can impact your HVAC system. These regulations are in place to ensure that families are kept safe as well as the environment. If you are unsure what the regulations are, look them up! They’re public information and you should be able to find the information you need. You may also consider talking with your HVAC professional at your next maintenance check about changes or major repairs you can make to ensure your system is functioning up to par with the regulations. If it’s not, talk to the professional about new home heating and cooling options to consider.
Ensuring that your HVAC system is running well is important for all homeowners, and even for renters who are trying to save money on utility bills.
When you’re trying to get the most from your home heating and cooling options, keep these key steps in mind:
- Perform routine maintenance and repairs
- Make sure your HVAC system is the correct size for your home and consider an upgrade if not
- Ensure that your thermostat has the right features to give you control over your system
- Clean your system frequently
If you are consistent about applying these tips to your HVAC system, you will have efficient and effective heating and cooling for your home and will get the most from your system.