Your HVAC system’s efficiency can have a significant impact on your overall comfort in your home or office. Systems that are not running at optimal performance may cause certain rooms to be warmer or colder than others.
Did you know that your HVAC system is typically the single largest user of electricity in your home? In fact, heating and cooling your home can account for as much as 46% of your total energy bill. Inefficient systems can cause unexpected spikes in your energy bills.
Fortunately, there are some easy steps that you can take to improve your system’s efficiency. Our HVAC professionals at Rite Way Heating, Cooling and Plumbing team have put together a list of five tips to help improve your HVAC system’s performance.
Please feel free to call us today if you have any questions or if you would like us to come out and assess your current system’s efficiency level. We have been providing top-notch professional heating, cooling and plumbing services to the greater Tucson, AZ, area for more than 60 years!
1. Regularly Change Your Air Filter
Over time, dust, dirt, pollen and other air contaminants can negatively impact your HVAC system’s performance. Most, if not all, current HVAC systems have fiberglass or pleated air filters integrated into the furnace or air handler.
These filters are intended to help remove these particulates from the air in your home as it circulates through your ductwork and back to the HVAC system. However, over time the dust, dirt and debris can clog your filters. These clogs restrict airflow and therefore reduce your system’s efficiency.
We at Rite Way recommend that you change your filters at least every six months. However, some newer, pleated filters should be replaced once every three to four months. These more advanced filters typically have higher minimum efficiency reporting value (“MERV”) ratings than traditional fiberglass options.
Higher MERV ratings mean that the pleated filters remove more particulates from the air than traditional filters. In fact, they can remove up to 90% of the dust, dirt and pollen that is larger than 1 micron in size. They can also capture between 75% and 85% of airborne contaminants that are between 0.3 and 1 microns. If you would like, our technicians can replace your filters as part of a maintenance visit to tune up your HVAC system.
2. Clean and Maintain Your Ducts!
The ductwork in your home is one of the most overlooked components of your HVAC system. These vents and runs are typically found in your ceilings or floors. They help bring hot and cold air from your furnace or air handler and air conditioner or heat pump throughout your home.
Many times, once these ducts are installed, people forget about them. Yet they can heavily contribute to your HVAC system’s overall efficiency level.
First, dust, dirt, pet hair and other pollutants can collect in your ductwork just like they can in other areas of your system. If your ductwork is not cleaned and maintained, then this debris can reduce airflow and lower your HVAC system’s efficiency.
We recommend that you consult with a trained HVAC professional about cleaning and maintaining your ducts. If the cleaning is done improperly, then your ducts could become damaged. Even small pinholes in your ductwork will allow air to escape and decrease your system’s performance.
Typically, you should get your ducts cleaned at least once every seven years. We gladly offer duct cleaning services in the Tucson area. Please refer to the duct cleaning services page on our website. Our team has developed an easy way for you to see if your home would benefit from a duct cleaning.
We can also test your ductwork to see if you are experiencing air loss in your HVAC system. If so, there are some approaches that may help seal your ductwork and improve your HVAC efficiency.
3. Spring and Fall Maintenance Checks
Routine maintenance is critical to ensure not only that your system runs efficiently and to limit the potential for unexpected failures throughout the year. We recommend having a trained technician come out once in the fall and once in the spring.
That way, you can make sure that your system is functioning properly before you switch between heating and cooling throughout the year. During these checks, our technician can help you change your filters, inspect the system and replace parts that may be nearing the end of their life.
4. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Do you have a programmable thermostat installed? If not, adding one to your system can make a big difference in your energy bills and your HVAC efficiency. These thermostats allow you to specify different temperatures throughout the day.
For example, if you are typically away from home from nine to five each day, then you can set the system to a higher temperature when you are out of the house. The best part is that you can also program your system to turn on before you get home so that the house is already comfortable before you walk in the door.
Are you home more during the weekends? No problem! Many programmable thermostats offer different settings for each day of the week. If you are going to be away from home on vacation, then you can change the settings for that week to minimize energy usage.
Raising your thermostat by as little as 10 degrees in the summer or lowering temperatures by 10 degrees in the winter may reduce your energy usage by 15%. Many people say that these thermostats pay for themselves over time because of the savings on their energy bills.
5. Request a Home Energy Audit
Your system and ductwork are only two of the aspects of your home that can impact your home’s energy efficiency. A lack of insulation in your attic or in your walls can allow cold air to escape in the summer and warm air to exit your home in the winter.
Similarly, old single-pane windows or double-pane or triple-pane windows that have lost the gas between their layers can cause energy to escape from your home. Siding that is not properly installed is another potential area where your home can allow air to escape.
Fortunately, Rite Way’s professionals can come out and do an analysis of your home to identify these issues. We can also work with you on a plan to address these issues. Eliminating these inefficiencies from your home will allow your HVAC system to perform better.
Consult a Professional
We have provided a few suggestions on how to improve your home’s HVAC efficiency. However, there are a number of other factors that can cause your furnace, air conditioner or other components to not function optimally. We would be happy to set up a consultation with you to discuss your concerns and analyze your specific home.
Do you have other concerns about your comfort in your home or about your home’s water heater and plumbing fixtures? The Rite Way team also offers a full menu of heating, cooling and plumbing services in the Tucson, AZ area, so give us a call today.