This Saturday is Earth Day, an annual celebration of our planet and its resources. This holiday started in 1970, is meant to remind us of the beauty of nature and all the ways we can help to keep our planet in great condition for the next generation. Sometimes, though, making changes to keep our air, land, and water clean can seem overwhelming. The reality is that small changes help, which is why adjusting at home is a good place to start.
The bonus that comes along with having a greener HVAC system? While it is nice to think that you are helping to keep our area in good shape, it’s even better to save some money on those energy bills. Staying green can have the added benefit of cost savings in the long run, even though the initial investment in new equipment can seem expensive. But just think – lower bills, cleaner indoor air, and a healthy family…there’s no reason not to go green.
Here are some simple steps you can take to put your home on an environmentally- and budget-friendly track:
Have A Professional Energy Audit
Calling a professional to evaluate the energy efficiency of your home is one of the easiest ways to identify money-sucking problems. Once you know where the problem areas are, you can begin the process of fixing issues and watch your energy bills start to drop.
If you’re not willing to call in a professional for the job, consider doing your very own DIY Home Energy Audit. This weekend project will quickly point out any major issues, most of which are easily corrected with a little effort and a trip to the local hardware store.
Use Energy Efficient Equipment
If you’re in the process of building a home or are in the market for new HVAC equipment, considering energy efficient equipment is worth the investment. Energy efficient equipment does a great job of keeping your home comfortable while using less electricity and gas as part of the process. Much of this equipment is also smaller and quieter than traditional counterparts, leaving you some extra space as well as being less noticeable.
Most products that rate high for energy efficiency have the Energy Star logo. Ask your HVAC dealer to provide details on which models will best work for your home layout and energy usage needs.
The Right Size = Savings
While you’re seeking equipment for your new home or as part of a refresh project, make sure you have a professional assist with determining the right size for your air conditioner or heater. Our last blog post covered some of the symptoms of an incorrectly sized HVAC system. Long story short – bigger isn’t always better. In fact, systems that are too large will end up costing more not just because of their size, but because they can’t operate as they were meant to work.
A professional will use a formula and specialized knowledge to pick the right sized system for you and your family. Also, they can also recommend installation setups, like zoning, that will help you save as much money while keeping your entire family comfortable.
Invest in A Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are an easy, low-cost way to make your current HVAC system a little more efficient. Depending on the thermostat you buy, it allows you to set temperatures for the times you are at home and the times you are away. Some even enable you to change temperatures at night to create an optimal sleeping environment. The programming schedule depends on which thermostat you choose – the most basic options allow you to schedule a weekday and weekend setting, while the more expensive options give you more flexibility.
For those who have the available funds and are fans of technology, smart thermostats are also a good way to make your air conditioner run efficiently. While pricey, these options offer the most flexible scheduling and can even learn your schedule without requiring you to program anything.
The key to these products, however, is reading the user’s manual. If you use them incorrectly, such as programming in huge temperature changes during the day), you could end up paying more for your bills instead of less.
Focus on Preventative Maintenance
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times…change your filters! Regularly changing your filter is the easiest step you can take not only to prevent wear and tear on your HVAC system, but also to allow your system to operate efficiently. When the filter is clogged, air can’t get through to properly cool your home. So remember, once a month, check those filters – if they’re dirty and clogged, it’s time for a new one.
In addition to checking your filters, you should also focus on bi-annual maintenance checks. We offer Priority Maintenance Service to clients that includes these inspections so that you don’t have to remember to schedule them twice a year. These checks allow technicians to complete regular maintenance like cleaning coils and checking for leaks, while also looking for easily fixable small problems. That means your HVAC system won’t be working against any issues, allowing it to be as efficient as possible.
Give Your HVAC A Break
And finally, probably the oldest way you can go green and reduce your energy bill is by turning your HVAC system off. If it’s a beautiful day, and you can open your windows and turn the fans on, why not let in a little fresh air? Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of ventilating your home which can improve your indoor air quality as well!