Does it feel like your home is constantly buzzing? All year, there is an air conditioner or a heater kicking on periodically. That’s just how it is in Texas. The summers are hot and long, then suddenly it is winter and you have to turn the heat on at night to keep the chill out of the house. The problem is that every time your HVAC systems kick on, it adds a little to your home’s heating and cooling costs. But there are things you can do to make your HVAC systems more efficient, so you use less energy and spend less money on your utility bills
Upgrade Your System
If your air conditioning system is ten to fifteen years old, it may be time to start thinking about a new one. System efficiencies have come a long way over the years, with many now offering capabilities that are twice as good as the older units — some more. With figures like that, upgrading to a new system can pay for itself relatively quickly. According to the Department of Energy, you can save from 20-50 percent of your home cooling costs by replacing your air conditioner with a newer, energy-efficient model. Installing a new system may be the way to go.
Regular Care and Maintenance
Probably the biggest thing you can do to make sure your HVAC system is operating efficiently is to practice regular care and maintenance of your heating and cooling system. Cleaning or replacing your filters monthly will have a major impact on how well your HVAC system works. Remember that your home’s heating and cooling operates based on air flow. If something is covering the filter, like dust, it affects how much air your HVAC system can draw and in turn limits how much air can be heated or cooled at a given time.
Covering Windows and Doors
Another big factor is your home’s windows and doors. When the sun comes in, it warms the air and makes your air conditioner work harder to lower the temperature to your thermostat setting. West and south-facing windows get it the worst. Just by covering these up, you can save up to 70 percent on your cooling costs. So, when the air conditioner is on, and the sun is high, draw the drapes, close the curtains, and shut the blinds. You can even install solar shades or use your storm shutters for extra sun protection. Also, note that heat can be lost through windows and doors during the winter months, so you should practice the same home sun protection techniques you use in the summer.
Humidity makes a difference as well. The extra water molecules in the air make it feel heavy, and humidity affects your air conditioner’s efficiency. Average annual humidity is highest in the cities along the Gulf, like Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Houston, and Victoria, coming in at roughly 90 percent in the morning and averaging in the high 70s most days. At College Station, we aren’t so far removed. Adding a humidity solution to your HVAC will help your air conditioner run more efficiently.
Getting the Right System
Programmable thermostats and other “DIY” devices can help control heating and cooling costs, but they do not work equally well in all cases. Certain HVAC systems need programmable thermostats that have algorithms to work with their unique technologies. Systems with heat pumps, electric resistance heating, steam heat, and radiant floor heating need a programmable thermostat designed for it or else it will cause the system to run less efficiently. In the end, there may not be any cost savings at all, and your utility bills could increase.
If you have noticed an increase in your utility bills, some areas of your home feel drafty, the temperature is not consistent throughout your home, or your HVAC system just doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to, call McWilliams & Son Heating & Air Conditioning at (888) 905-7655 to schedule an appointment. We can help ensure your HVAC system is as efficient as possible.
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