Heating and cooling accounts for roughly half of your annual household energy consumption. If your goal is a more energy efficient home, the following HVAC-specific suggestions can help you work your way there.
- Schedule annual HVAC maintenance. Just like any other mechanical equipment, an HVAC system needs regular maintenance to operate at top efficiency. By scheduling spring A/C and fall furnace tuneups, you'll not only see lower energy bills, but your home will also be more comfortable year round.
- Check the air filter monthly. During the heating and cooling seasons, check the air filter every month. If it's dirty, clean or replace it. A dirty filter restricts airflow and puts unnecessary strain on your HVAC system, causing energy waste. A dirty filter can also allow dirt and dust to build up on sensitive system components, which can lead to costly repairs and/or premature equipment failures.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. By programming temperature adjustments for the hours when you're sleeping and away from home during the day, you can lower your annual energy use by five to eight percent.
- Seal and insulate HVAC ductwork. Tackling this task can increase system efficiency by 20 percent or more. Start with the ducts installed in uninsulated areas, such as the attic, basement, garage and crawl space. Seal the seams and connections with metal-backed or mastic tape to prevent air leaks and then wrap the ducts in insulation (the current minimum code requirement is R8). Repeat this process with any ductwork you're able to access in your insulated living space.
- Replace aging HVAC equipment. If your system is more than 15 years old, investing in new equipment could reduce your energy consumption considerably. Choosing Energy Star-certified units could save you up to 15 percent more than generic equipment. Before you invest, have your new system's capacity correctly calculated by a knowledgeable HVAC professional and address any factors that can reduce efficiency, such as air leaks in your home's shell, insufficient insulation and poor ductwork design.
VERY IMPORTANT—If you make any major changes to the ductwork, insulation, windows or weatherstripping of your home, always make sure that once the process is complete you have a heating professional check your HVAC system and hot water heater. You want to make sure that you have not disturbed the balance of your system and that it is still venting safely and properly.
Do you need expert advice about how to achieve an energy efficient home in the greater Cleveland area? Contact us today at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling.Follow @PKwadsworth
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.