Having an HVAC system that’s running efficiently can decrease your home energy costs by hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year. Unfortunately, HVAC systems don’t always run at their highest efficiency possible for a variety of reasons, and the absolute highest level of efficiency can vary greatly depending on the unique variations in your home, so it’s not always a one-size-fits-all approach when you’re trying to get your home to run at peak efficiency. The upside is that there are several techniques that can greatly reduce the amount of energy that your home needs to stay warm in the winters and cool in the summers, and there are some easy ways to find how efficient your home is as well as where the efficiency could be improved.
Check for Excess Humidity
One of the key factors in whether your air conditioner is properly cooling your home is whether you have excess humidity. The air conditioner is supposed to do more than simply lower the temperature of the home. If that’s all it did, you would have a cool and clammy house. Your air conditioner should also be removing the excess humidity. If it’s not, there are a few potential problems with your current air conditioner. Mostly, too much humidity being left behind could be a sign that you have the wrong size unit for the size of your home. For instance, if you notice short cycles and lots of moisture on the windowsills, the air conditioner could be too large for your home. Large air conditioners wear out more quickly and are less efficient than the appropriately sized unit. Excess humidity could also be a sign that your air conditioner is starting to wear out. More specifically, the evaporator coils could be starting to wear out.
Look at Past Home Energy Bills
If you’ve noticed that your energy bills have been rising over the last several months, it’s smart to find out the reason. If you’ve noticed that your energy usage has been steadily increasing from one year to the next, there’s a good chance that your furnace or air conditioner is less efficient than it was previously. When you’re determining if your energy consumption is going up, you need to look at your usage rather than just your bill so that you’re not confusing the rising cost of energy for a rise in your consumption. Additionally, even if you conclude that you’re using more energy, there are a number of potential reasons for this. For instance, if one winter is colder than the previous or you’re simply setting your temperature higher than you were the previous year, this could also account for a significant rise in your energy consumption. If you’ve considered other reasons why your energy bill might be higher that don’t relate to the efficiency of your system, your air conditioner or furnace might be getting old.
Consider the Age and Lifespan of Your HVAC System
When you have an older HVAC system, it’s more likely that newer, more efficient equipment has been introduced to the market. Additionally, it’s also more likely that not all of the components on your current system are working correctly. Air conditioners are supposed to last for around 12 to 15 years, but they often begin to experience a continuous decline in efficiency when they’re about six or seven years old. By the time your air conditioner has hit about 10 years old, it’s considerably less efficient than what it was when it was first installed.
Make Sure That Heating and Cooling Is Even Throughout the House
If you have pockets around the house that aren’t being cooled or heated, there’s a good chance that there’s something about your house’s HVAC system that isn’t completely efficient. As a furnace becomes less efficient, it will have more difficulty heating the entire house, which can result in areas that you want warmer but never actually get up to temperature. If you’re getting uneven heating and cooling around the house, this could also mean that your furnace or air conditioner isn’t big enough for your home, which can cause the unit to wear down more quickly because it has to run longer to achieve the desired temperature. Also, since it’s running longer, it isn’t working as efficiently as a unit that’s the right size for your home would.
Look at the Insulation
If the insulation in your attic is low, you’re losing a lot of heat every winter through the roof. When you want your home to be as efficient as possible, compare your roof in the winter to the roofs of your neighbors. If the snow is melting off of your roof significantly sooner than the roofs of your neighbors’ homes, then there’s a good chance that you don’t have enough insulation and the heat from your home is melting the snow. This might be in one specific area of the roof, or it might be across the entire roof. Additionally, if you’re seeing something called ice dams on your roof, this is another good indicator that your roof is leaking heat. Roof dams are ice formations that are created when the snow melts and quickly refreezes when the temperature drops outside.
Test the Difference Between the Temperature of Air Between the Room and What’s Coming From the Registers
The temperature of the air coming out of your registers when the air conditioner is running should be about 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the air in the room. If the air from the registers is a little warm, this could be a sign that your air conditioner isn’t running completely efficiently. You can check this temperature by placing a thermometer next to the supply register for five minutes. Record the reading. Then, place the thermometer next to the return vent. Look at the difference between these two readings to tell whether your air conditioner is putting out air that’s sufficiently cool.
Look at Your Windows and Doors
When determining whether your home is energy efficient, you need to consider how much energy you’re losing because the house is structurally inefficient. A lot of heat and cool air can be lost along the edges of windows and doors, so if you feel a draft, you could increase your home’s efficiency by getting some draft stoppers for the bottoms of doors and weatherproofing strips for around the windows.
Check If Your Heating and Cooling Is Zoned
Especially if you have a larger home, you want your heating and cooling to be zoned to save energy. When you have a zoned system, you’re able to cut off the areas of the house that aren’t currently in use so that you don’t waste money maintaining the temperature. Otherwise, if you have a multi-level home, such as one with a basement, you might find it most efficient to turn the heat on in the basement in the winter and let the heat rise to the upper levels. But in the summer, since cold air falls, you don’t want to push very much cool air into the basement.
There are a lot of ways to save money on your home’s energy costs. If you need a heating and cooling company that can help your whole home run more efficiently through repairs, maintenance, and new installations, talk to us at Blue Best Heating & Air.