Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly
Information from Energy Star®: How To Heat & Cool Efficiently
As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your home's indoor air quality and air conditioning solution can have a big effect on your utility bills - and your comfort. Take these steps to increase the efficiency of your home:
Energy Star® Guide to Efficient Heating & Cooling
Change your air filter regularly
Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and use more energy to keep you cool = higher utility bills. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building which can lead to expensive maintenance and or breakdown.
Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, scheduled maintenance from a local AC contractor can improve efficiency and comfort. Learn more:
Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.
Sealing your ducts
Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your indoor comfort products by as much as 20 percent - and sometimes much more.
Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house. See our See our Duct Sealing brochure (1.13MB) for more information. for more information.
Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified products
If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional Palm Springs AC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR. Depending on where you live, replacing your equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by nearly $200. But before you invest in new products, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the ductwork. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your air conditioner or heat pump.
Ask about Proper Installation of your new equipment
Replacing your older HVAC products with new, energy-efficient models is a great start. But to make sure that you get the best performance, you need a proper installation. In fact, improper installation can reduce efficiency by up to 30 percent - costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment's life.
Make sure to ask your HVAC dealer if their work meets guidelines set by ENERGY STAR and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). These guidelines include:
- Proper A/C Sizing
Installing the right size A/C unit for your home is essential to getting the best performance and comfort. Many homeowners believe that bigger is better when buying new heating and cooling solutions. But in reality, an air conditioner that is too large will not keep your home comfortable because of frequent 'on/off' cycling. Incorrect sizing can also put stress on components and shorten the equipment's life. To ensure proper sizing, your HVAC technician should provide a copy of the home's heat gain/loss calculations for your records.
- Sealing Ducts
To ensure that ducts are properly sealed you should have the leakage rate tested. If the ducts are very leaky (i.e. more than 20% of the air moving through ductwork is leaking into spaces you do not want heated or cooled) your contractor should use duct sealant (mastic), a metal-backed (foil) tape or an aerosol sealant to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After the ducts are sealed they should be wrapped in insulation.
Proper Refrigerant Charge (Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps Only)
A properly charged A/C unit will operate more efficiently and help prolong the life of the heating and cooling system. To ensure your AC unit has the correct amount of refrigerant, a technician must test and confirm that the system is properly charged. If the unit is not properly charged, the appropriate adjustment should be made by adding or removing refrigerant.
- Optimizing Air Flow
If air flow in your cooling system is too high or too low, you may experience comfort problems and higher utility bills. Have your air flow tested and make any needed adjustments for optimal performance.