As colder months are approaching, it’s time to pay special attention to how ready we truly are for the falling temperatures. As winter approaches with all its beauty, one thing homeowners are uncertain of during this period is how much their heating bill will be month to month. While it’s nearly impossible to predict your heating bill for the cold season, taking proper precautions can provide peace of mind in knowing you’re trying to be as energy efficient as possible. Here are some key points to ensure your HVAC system is as efficient as possible while saving you money.
Energy-Efficient HVAC System
As a homeowner, you’ve probably heard the term “HVAC” before and associated it with heating and cooling systems for both commercial and residential properties. Units come in all different shapes and sizes, heating or cooling capacities, and of course, price ranges. When looking for the right HVAC unit for your home heating, the goal is to avoid as much tradeoff before power consumption and output as possible. After all, we want the most for our money, especially when it comes to keeping our winter heating costs lower.
Keep in mind, as fuel costs seem to be increasing by the week, we can also expect our heating bills to rise. Heating a home is typically the most expensive utility bill. Unfortunately, families often forget the heat is on and prioritize comfort while paying little attention to the bottom line. However, creating better patterns and habits can help ensure your HVAC system is as energy-efficient and cost-efficient as possible. In addition, different factors affect the efficiency of your HVAC unit, such as the make and model and how well you manage its upkeep.
HVAC System Size
When it comes to energy efficiency, the size of the unit plays a significant role. An HVAC load calculator can help you decide whether a new unit is needed after filling out some information about your home. Bear in mind these numbers are just an estimate to give you ballpark figures as you weigh your options.
The phrase, bigger is better, isn’t always the case regarding your HVAC system. On the other hand, a unit being smaller doesn’t always mean money is being saved, either. In fact, if a unit is too small for your home, there are a few ways you’ll be able to tell. For example, your home doesn’t feel as warm as it should be, or the furnace never stops running. This can drastically increase your heating bill because the heater runs non-stop in your home. Having equipment that is too small in your home may save you money when purchasing the unit, but it will not save you money when it comes to energy bills. Burnout is also likely to occur due to overuse, and it’ll be a costly mistake in the end.
HVAC units that are too large for your home will often draw in a lot of energy at one time, and quickly too. As the temperature regulates in the home, the unit will shut off and quickly turn back on again until the house is heated to the set temperature. Over time, this constant on-and-off will wear down the unit and result in repairs needing to be done. Determining what size HVAC unit you need shouldn’t be something to feel uncomfortable taking on. Contact the professionals to get our input and recommendation on what we think will be most suitable for you.
Replacing Air Filters Regularly
Believe it or not, cleaning or replacing your air filters can and will increase the energy efficiency of your HVAC unit. As a bonus, this often comes with little to no charge.
There are a lot of factors that should be considered when you’re determining how often to change your filters. The main factor is the filter type and what the filter consists of. In addition to keeping dust and harmful particles out of the air you breathe, some air filters also remove germs and pathogens. Of course, cheap filters are readily available, but spending a few extra dollars could go a long way. As for how often you should change filters, there’s a consensus that every three months is an adequate amount of time. However, some professionals feel every month is necessary. This all depends on your household. For example, if you have lots of kids or pets, you will need to change your air filter more frequently than someone who lives alone.
Cleaning or replacing your air filters is essential for allowing a clear passageway of warm air into your home in the winter. Filters build up with dust and debris over time from circulating air within the space. Inevitably, dirty filters result in your HVAC system overworking. In addition, the home will not be heating as well as it should be. Not only could a dirty air filter damage your furnace over time and prohibit clean, warm air, but this can trigger your unit to shut down, among other issues. If your unit shuts down, your home will be not only chilly but a financial issue.
Filter maintenance is a simple way to help save you money when heating your home this winter, but it’s often overlooked as a method of improving the energy consumption of the unit. Take the extra step, clean or replace the filters, and then you’re on the way to saving!
Properly Insulate Your Home
Properly insulating your home can also significantly improve the efficiency of your HVAC unit and save you money. Insulating your home keeps warm air in the house longer. Warm air is always looking for colder places to travel to. So if you have cracks in your window, attic, or whatever the case may be, you can expect to lose warm air and money too. If you have access to your attic, you can perform a quick check of insulation levels to determine if more is needed.
After confirming you need to insulate or add additional insulation, your next step is choosing the appropriate insulation materials for your home’s region and climate. Remember, the purpose of insulation is not to heat your home but to slow the process of heat loss. You can surely expect to save money and improve your HVAC efficiency by appropriately insulating areas within your home that need some help.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Installing a smart thermostat can help regulate the temperature within your home easily and quickly. With homes becoming smarter and technology-oriented, this home accessory excites many! The benefits of installing a programmable thermostat are endless. However, the most notable benefit is complete control at your fingertips. The ability to lower your thermostat while you aren’t home, set timers, and even possibly receive notifications of HVAC malfunctions are worth consideration. You can surely expect to save money with a smart thermostat this winter. Lower energy usage starts with your thermostat. Take some time to decide which option caters to your needs the best and what’s more desirable for your home.
Performing Regular Maintenance
The key to ensuring your HVAC unit’s longevity and efficiency is routine maintenance. This may seem like common knowledge, but when was the last time you got your HVAC equipment serviced without there being an issue? Scheduling maintenance doesn’t only need to be for a repair. Instead, think of it as reassurance that if there’s a problem with your unit, a professional can guide you on what’s to come next. Consulting with multiple HVAC professionals can also be beneficial, as each opinion can offer different valuable insights on potential issues. Peace of mind is priceless, especially when preparing for the colder months ahead. Keep in mind that if routine maintenance was never performed on your unit, you may suddenly see issues appear.
Purchasing a New HVAC Unit
Unfortunately, at some point, your unit will age out. Each HVAC unit has a shelf life. How long your HVAC lasts is dependent on multiple factors.
- Where you live plays a crucial role in determining the lifespan of your unit.
- Leaves, dust, rocks, and numerous other natural elements come into consideration.
Whether the region you live in experiences cold air in winters or hot summers, everything you can think of plays a role in the unit’s aging. As a homeowner, thinking of purchasing a new unit and making necessary repairs or upgrades is dreadful. HVAC purchases are easily one of the most expensive decisions a homeowner can make, but necessary.
Fast funding is usually essential for these kinds of improvements, so consider taking out a low interest home equity loan (HEL) as a method of funding. The benefits of receiving a home equity loan include a lump sum payment and tax-deductible interest as long as the loan is used for home improvement projects. In addition, a HEL is a great way to utilize your home’s equity to fund unexpected projects and repairs, such as buying a new HVAC system.
Most Energy-Efficient Method to Heat Your Home
There are many ways to heat your home with things like space heaters, but efficiently heating your home is a whole new ball game. Two energy-efficient ways are heat pumps (geothermal and air source) and furnaces.
Air source heat pumps work to pump heat from one place to another by using a compressor and a circulating structure of refrigerant or natural gas. Heat is then extracted from outside sources and pumped into homes. The advantages of heat pumps are amazing. The most notable is that they require less electricity, ultimately saving you money.
- require considerably less maintenance
- have cheaper heating costs
- have an expected longer lifespan compared to traditional heating sources
Unfortunately, a notable downside is heat pump installations are costly. However, if you can see past the initial installation costs, you can expect to be well on your way to saving money while heating your home this winter.
A furnace is a part of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The primary function is to provide heat. If the air within your home is cooler than what you set the thermostat to, the furnace kicks on and heats that room until the temperature reaches the preset level. Like heat pumps, the benefits of a furnace are quite impressive.
Improved airflow is among the advantages of installing a new high-efficiency furnace. Having your home heated quickly in a time of need or comfort is extremely important to a household. Your home is where you can expect to spend a great deal of your time.
Furnaces measure energy efficiency by Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE.
With new furnaces with AFUE ratings well over 90%, you can expect to save a great deal of money over time. Also, new furnaces are quieter than in the past, so installing a new one means you likely won’t be woken up in the middle of the night due to noise.
Everyone can expect to heat their home in the winter months, given we all live in areas that experience temperature drops in some form. While we can’t predict how much our furnace will be used this winter, we know it’ll be used at some point.
You’re now equipped with information to make your HVAC unit more energy efficient while also saving you money. If you’re unsure about your current heating system, consulting with a professional can be beneficial. A professional HVAC technician can help you better understand what you can do to save money and stay warm.