Your home's heating and cooling system is a luxury that can end up spiking your utility bills. But choosing the most energy efficient systems during installation, performing proper maintenance, and calling in an HVAC repair person when something goes wrong can all extend the life of your units and lower your bills.
Here are a few tips for saving money on your heating and air conditioning systems.
Purchase Energy Efficient Systems
If you are in the market for a new heating and cooling system, you should consider energy efficiency when making your purchase.
Energy efficiency on central air conditioners is indicated in a measurement called seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. A higher SEER rating means better efficiency, which makes it easier to compare otherwise similar units. You also need to make sure the air conditioner is large enough to cool the size of your home. The unit should show the square footage the unit can reasonably cool.
If you are replacing an air conditioner and have an older heater, you will want to replace the heater at the same time. Plugging a new energy-efficient air conditioner into the old furnace will negate much of that energy efficiency, as the heater is inefficient.
Gas furnaces are generally more efficient than electric. The United States Department of Energy labels especially efficient models as Energy Star compliant. Furnaces are a bit trickier than air conditioners because the efficiency will vary depending on region due to wide temperature variations. The Energy Star label should state which regions are appropriate for a particular unit.
Perform Regular Maintenance
The simplest (but one of the most important) maintenance tips for a central air conditioner and furnace system is to check and change the filter regularly. Check your manual for detailed instructions, as some units have filters that can be simply cleaned and returned to the unit, while others need to be replaced entirely.
Another simple maintenance for your air conditioner is to make sure the outside condensing unit is clear of debris such as leaves or branches that can plug the grate and get inside to damage the fan.
Between seasons, your system will require some more in-depth maintenance steps. It is best to call in an HVAC technician to perform this maintenance if you don't have any experience. Most HVAC companies offer an affordable seasonal maintenance package for this very reason.
Call for Repairs
If your heating and cooling system suddenly becomes less efficient, this drop in efficiency can cause a rise in your bill prices. But the drop can also indicate an ongoing problem with the unit that will only worsen with time and could create permanent damage in your system.
Sudden changes in efficiency can be due to dirty coils, ice buildups, refrigerant issues, or a clogged flue. It is best to have a professional like Allzone Air Conditioning & Heating Corp come out to diagnose and correct the problem as soon as the symptoms present.