Home is where people tend to feel the most comfortable: it’s where they can be themselves, relax, and enjoy the company of those they love. Living spaces that are stuffy and hot in the summer or freezing cold in the winter, however, can be outright unbearable, which is why a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is such an integral part of a house. Unfortunately, the comfort HVAC equipment provides can come at a steep cost to homeowners and the environment. As this infographic from The Refrigeration School illustrates, understanding how HVAC technology works and the best practices for operating and maintaining it can significantly is important to reducing energy consumption and saving home heating and cooling costs.
Keeping homes at a comfortable temperature can contribute to the warming of the planet and to high utility bills. In 2013, commercial and residential buildings accounted for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, indicates the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sources of these emissions include the combustion of natural gas and petroleum products for heating and cooking; fluorinated gases (refrigerants) that are released during the servicing of air conditioning and refrigeration systems or due to leaking equipment; and fossil fuels burned to produce the electricity that powers heaters and air conditioners.
As the infographic points out, 48% of the energy used in a typical U.S. home is for heating and cooling, costing homeowners, on average, more than $100 a month for electricity. In the sweltering summer months when the use of air conditioners spikes, electricity bills can skyrocket to over $450 in some areas of the country.
While homeowners should leave complex maintenance and repair jobs to professional HVAC technicians, there are certain things that anyone can do at home to cut HVAC-related energy consumption and utility costs.
Lower the thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees in the winter and raise it by the same amount in the summer for eight hours a day to save between 5% and 15% on annual utility bills. When awake and in the home in the winter, set the thermostat to 68 degrees, then lower it while at work and when sleeping. During the summer, when up and inside the home, set the thermostat to 78 degrees; otherwise, raise it to 88 degrees. Reduced electricity bills are the result of less energy consumption, which is good for your bank account and the environment.
Some maintenance should be performed on a monthly basis but most only needs to be attended to yearly. For example, cleaning or replacing air filters every month can lower energy consumption by 5% to 15%. At the end of each year, however, homeowners should clean evaporator coils, coil fins, and heat exchangers; they should also check air ducts, heating pipes, and windows to ensure that they are properly sealed. See the infographic for detailed instructions on how to complete these tasks.
While homeowners can do a lot on their own to reduce the amount of energy their HVAC systems use, complex maintenance and repairs should be left to professionals. Certified HVAC technicians and service providers can help homeowners save money in the short- and long-term by ensuring the equipment is operating at optimal efficiency and preventing the premature failure of parts.
When it comes to comfort, nothing compares to enjoying the company of loved ones in a warm—or cool—house. Fortunately, proper HVAC operation and maintenance can provide this experience to families all throughout the year. If you are in need of an HVAC repair, maintenance or installation, contact All Year Cooling today! Click here to learn why your home or business could benefit from creating an HVAC emergency preparedness plan.