Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning or HVAC systems are among the most energy-intensive appliances in your home. According to the US EIA, an air conditioning system may account for around 12% of the total home energy expenditures. Not to mention the hottest summer months when you can’t do without an HVAC system.
As HVAC systems constitute a significant portion of energy costs, you might be looking for ways to cut down your energy expenses and save dollars. Improving the HVAC efficiency is the solution. Not only will it help you reduce your electricity bill, but it will also save energy. The best thing is, you will be contributing to environmental sustainability. So here we will tell you six lesser-known ways to conserve energy by improving your HVAC efficiency.
Maintain The HVAC System Properly
First and foremost, make sure that your HVAC system and components are maintained properly. Create an HVAC maintenance checklist. You can include the following points in your checklist-
- Conduct an audit for your HVAC size and capacity. It is found that many people install oversized units, which results in more energy consumption and hikes in utility bills.
- Also, consider the duct design. In addition to the HVAC design, the number of bends and the layout of ducting affects the way air flows through the system. If there are more bends or longer distances, the HVAC has to work harder.
- Check the AC’s thermostat set point and clean the air filter amid and after every season. It will help you detect the faulty operations (if any) that may be causing energy consumption.
- Keep an eye on refrigerant leaks regularly.
- Unblock or vacuum the vents.
- Check all the drip lines and drains thoroughly.
Retrofitting is a great way to improve HVAC efficiency. Retrofitting means adding new features or technology to the existing air conditioning system. If you are sick of fixing the old HVAC unit, or the unit consumes more energy even after proper maintenance, you want to look into retrofitting. The retrofit involves upgrades that can improve the system’s efficiency, as well as save energy.
Use Automatic Controls Whenever You Can
By automating the speed, the run-time of HVAC components, like fans, compressor, etc., and its output, you can control the entire HVAC system. This results in an appropriate amount of heating or cooling as required. For instance, by installing a variable air valve into the system, you can regulate the airflow. Similarly, installing programmable thermostats takes the burden off of setting the temperature to meet the requirements.
Shade The Condenser Outside
This tip comes in extremely handy during the hot summer months. When the sun gets brutal, the heat can also impact the outside condenser unit. As a result, the HVAC system has to work harder to cool the space, which means more energy consumption. In order to reduce the wear and tear on the outdoor unit, you can put a shade over it. However, put shade in such a way that it doesn’t obstruct the airflow.
Adjust The HVAC Operation With Seasonal Changes
Modest changes in temperature settings with seasonal changes can make a difference in your energy savings. Increasing the HVAC’s chiller water supply to a level that can meet the required temperature levels can help you save energy. Therefore, it is recommended to control the temperature of the water; based on your system’s configuration. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s guidelines before this. Doing so will help you achieve comfort and also save energy. Moreover, it can be a big power-saver as the system’s compressor doesn’t have to work hard.
Power Down Electronics When Not In Use
Electronics, like computers, exercise equipment, media systems, etc., result in heat buildup indoors. Moreover, when you are not using electronics, and they are plugged in, they draw a lot of energy. So, when you are not using this equipment, turn them off. It will help you save energy. As these electronics produce a lot of heat, when you power them down, the HVAC system will use less energy to make the space cool.
These are some of the tips that homeowners often forget but can greatly contribute to saving energy by making the HVAC system more efficient.