An HVAC system is a vital feature of any home, and it can offer many benefits, from keeping your home comfortable to improving indoor air quality. However, running the system can be expensive; according to the Energy Information Administration, air conditioning accounts for between 12 and 27% of the total energy bills in a typical home. Therefore, to keep your cooling and heating costs down, you must find creative ways to improve the efficiency of your system. And lucky for you, below are some of the top tips for getting the most out of the HVAC features in your home.
Assess the Quality of Your Current HVAC System
An HVAC system that is not in top condition can cost you a lot. For example, according to the University of California, faulty ducts can lose up to 40% of energy and cause your system to consume 50% more power. Therefore, one of the top tips for getting the most out of your HVAC features is ensuring they are functioning optimally.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell whether your current HVAC system is running efficiently, which means you could be losing energy without knowing. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to hire a heating and air service to inspect your system. This can help to identify any hidden issues that need addressing.
After having your HVAC system inspected, you can then start remedying any problems discovered. For example, you could hire an HVAC contractor to clean the filters, air vents, condenser units, and furnace, which can significantly improve the performance of your system. You can also get more out of your HVAC system by servicing or repairing it.
Check for Foundation Leaks in Your Basement
It might not seem like it, but the foundation can significantly impact your HVAC system’s efficiency. For example, gaps in the foundation can draw cold air into the basement, which can then spread to the rest of the house, causing your furnace to work harder to keep your home warm. Therefore, you must find and fix any air leaks in your basement to get more out of your HVAC features.
Unfortunately, it’s not just air leaks that you have to worry about where your home’s foundation is concerned. Minor foundation issues can exacerbate over time, causing problems like flooding and foundation movements that can damage the air ducts. These problems can seriously interfere with your HVAC system, causing it to become very inefficient.
Therefore, to avoid any problems with your HVAC system, you should look into foundation repair companies near you when you notice any foundation issues. Depending on your home’s condition, these companies can recommend various foundation repair services. This can include sealing cracks and gaps in the foundation, injecting concrete into the slab, and lifting the foundation back to its original level.
Find Potential Leaks in Your Roof
According to HomeLogic, leaks in the roof can cause heat energy loss of up to 25%. The problem can even be worse if you have a foundation leak; it can cause a chimney effect where hot air escapes through the roof, and cold air is drawn in through the foundation. Consequently, this can cause your system to work much harder than necessary, leading to a sharp hike in energy bills.
Besides energy loss, a leaking roof can cause several other problems that could interfere with your HVAC features. For example, it can increase the humidity levels in your home, thus causing your air conditioner to work harder to achieve the desired cooling effect. In addition, water leaks can cause extensive damage to your home’s insulation, leading to more energy losses and higher energy bills.
Therefore, checking for leaks in your roof is one of the first things you should do if you’re worried your HVAC system is not performing as desired. Of course, tiny air leaks might not be easy to detect, so you should look for roofing companies near you that offer roof inspection services. Then, depending on the inspection outcome, you can hire additional roof repair and maintenance services to seal any detected leaks.
Ensure That Your Walls Have no Cracks or Leaks
Cracks and leaks in the walls are another top issue affecting your HVAC system. Tiny wall gaps can cause air to escape (or be drawn into your home), causing your HVAC to use more energy to heat or cool your home. On top of that, wall cracks and leaks can worsen over time, causing issues like insulation damage, which can severely affect the performance of your HVAC unit. Therefore, you must fix any wall leaks to get the most out of your HVAC features.
Fortunately, there are several solutions you can use to repair wall cracks and leaks. For example, you can quickly fix minor cracks by patching plaster or applying a fresh coat of paint on your walls. You can also hire drywall services to completely seal up more noticeable cracks, thus ensuring no air leaks in or out of your home.
Unfortunately, you may require more repairs to completely seal air leaks on your cracked wall. For example, if your wall has suffered structural damage, you may need to hire concrete services to fill large gaps. In extreme cases, you might also have to remove and replace damaged sections of your exterior walls. Of course, such extensive repairs are tricky, especially given the load-bearing functions of exterior walls, so you should use a licensed and experienced contractor when attempting them.
Determine if You Need to Patch Any Leaks With a Contractor
Besides the basement, roof, and walls, several other areas in your home could have air leaks. For example, windows are another common source of air leaks, and according to the Department of Energy, they can account for 25 to 30% of heating and cooling energy loss in a home. Other potential sources of air leaks in a home include the doors, garage, ceilings, and chimney.
Therefore, if you want to improve the performance of your HVAC features, you must find these potential air leak sources and fix them. Unfortunately, some might be very well hidden, making it impossible to detect them. As a result, it’s necessary to hire an HVAC expert to conduct an energy audit on your home, thus identifying all the places that are losing energy.
After discovering the problematic areas, you can start looking for remodeling contractors to repair them. For example, you can hire a professional to weatherstrip your windows and doors and fix any gaps between them and walls. Or you can hire window and door (including a garage door) replacement services, thus, making your home more energy efficient and reducing your HVAC system’s workload.
Consider the Quality of Your Home’s Insulation
Your home’s insulation traps the hot or cold air from your HVAC system, thus helping keep your home at a constant indoor temperature. As a result, it’s another critical element that can significantly impact your HVAC’s performance. Therefore, if you’re not getting the best out of your HVAC features, it might be time to consider if your insulation is doing its job.
Several insulation issues might affect the efficiency of your HVAC system. For example, the existing insulation may not be enough to trap the air. Or your insulation may have become damaged over time due to wear and tear, water, and exposure to elements. Either way, these issues can lead to substantial energy losses; according to Essmag, your home can lose up to 25% of its heating and cooling energy due to poor insulation.
Fortunately, insulation problems are easy to fix. For example, you can add lightweight insulation on your walls, roof, and floors, thus increasing your home’s energy efficiency. You can also hire a contractor to remove and replace damaged sections (or all) of your insulation, thus fixing inefficiencies with your HVAC system.
Call a Heating Company
Some people usually forget that the furnace is a vital component of the HVAC system, at least until the cold season sets in. Unfortunately, if you don’t care for your furnace, your system can become highly inefficient, resulting in high heating costs. Therefore, hiring a heating company is another excellent way to get the most out of your HVAC features.
One of the top reasons to hire a heating company is the annual furnace maintenance. During this visit, the heating experts can offer solutions like furnace inspection & cleaning, air filter replacement, heating system lubrication, thermostat calibration, etc. Of course, for the best outcome, you should schedule the maintenance before winter, thus ensuring your furnace is ready for the cold season.
You can also hire several other heating solutions to improve the performance of your HVAC system. For example, you can hire a heating expert to repair your faulty furnace or replace inefficient components. In addition, you should also remember to look for local heating oil companies that can provide you with a quality and reliable supply of heating oil to keep your home warm throughout the cold season.
Discuss if You Need Any Items Replaced
Your HVAC system comprises several components that all work together to keep your home cool or warm. Unfortunately, over time, some of these components can become worn out or damaged, causing your system to become inefficient. Therefore, when looking to get more out of your HVAC features, you should consult with an HVAC expert about replacing items that are not functioning correctly.
The air filters are one of the top components you might need to replace. Over time, your HVAC filters can become clogged, interfering with the airflow and proper burning of your furnace. Consequently, this can cause a strain on your HVAC system, leading to inefficient heating and cooling, high energy costs, and increased wear and tear.
Besides the filters, there are several other component replacement options that you should discuss with an HVAC expert. For example, you can replace your thermostat with a more efficient model, which, according to Energy Star, can reduce your energy costs by up to 8%. Other items you can replace to get more out of your HVAC include capacitors, drift eliminators in the cooling tower, AC contactors, and the blower fan.
Investigate the Quality of Your Materials With a Professional
Your HVAC system features several parts that are made from different materials. And these materials can significantly impact your entire system’s performance, energy efficiency, and lifespan. Therefore, if you want to get more out of your HVAC features, you should hire a professional to assess the quality of the materials that make up your system.
The ducts are one of the top areas to start when assessing the quality of materials of your HVAC system. You can find air ducts made of stainless steel, rubber, polyurethane, PVC, fiberglass, flexible string wire, etc. Therefore, if your current ducts are giving you problems, you can replace them and choose from a wide variety of more durable and energy-efficient materials that will improve the performance of your HVAC system.
Besides the air ducts, several other components come in various materials, which can significantly boost your HVAC system. For example, you can choose between copper, steel, and aluminum when replacing your condenser and evaporator coils. In addition, even components like air compressors come with several material options like aluminum and cast iron, which can significantly affect the lifespan of your HVAC unit.
Regularly Clean Your Outdoor System to Prevent Pest Problems
The outdoor unit is one of the most critical elements of your HVAC system. It’s the part that dissipates hot air from your home’s interior, thus allowing for proper cooling. In addition, homes that use a heat pump use the outdoor unit to heat the interiors during the cold season. Therefore, you must take great care of the outdoor unit to get the most out of your HVAC features.
One of the most significant issues affecting the outdoor HVAC unit is dirt and debris from the surrounding area, which creates a perfect environment for pests. These unwanted guests can sneak you’re your system, causing extensive damage to the wiring, drain lines, condenser coil, and other components. So, to avoid this, you should regularly clean your outdoor unit and clear the surrounding area.
Unfortunately, some pests might still enter your outdoor HVAC unit. For example, snakes, rodents, and insects are famous for invading HVAC systems during winter in search of warmth. Therefore, besides cleaning your unit, you may also have to look into pest control companies near you to eradicate these unwanted visitors.
An HVAC system can be an excellent feature in your home. However, it can be very frustrating if your system is not cooling or warming your home correctly, using too much energy, or keeps on breaking down. Luckily, with the above tips, you can get the most out of your HVAC features, thus allowing you to keep your home comfortable while enjoying lower utility bills and an increased HVAC system lifespan.