15 HVAC Money Saving Tips
1. Air Filters
Change your air filters monthly. Dirty filters restrict the flow of air through the evaporator coil and causing the system to freeze up. An air conditioner that freezes up is the #1 cause of compressor failure.
Keeps outside plant growth at least 18” away from all sides, except the service panel side, which needs at least 36” to access for servicing.
3. Animal Feces
Keep animals from “relieving” themselves on the condenser (outdoor unit), the urine can corrode the coils.
4. Return Air Vents
Do not block return air vents with furniture. This causes restriction of the airflow, which causes not enough air to get back to the evaporator coils. This can also cause the coil to freeze up and will eventually cause premature compressor failure.
5. Condenser Unit
Do not store items such as garden hoses, paint cans, and tools on your condenser unit. Keep dryer vents pointed away from the unit, lint buildup and dirt will restrict the coil and cause premature compressor failure.
Properly maintain the central heating and air conditioning system. It is, after all, the most expensive piece of equipment in your home. If it is maintained properly, it will operate at peak efficiency, prolong the life of the system to a life expectancy of 8-15 years, and help prevent breakdowns and more expensive/extensive HVAC repairs. Have annual maintenance performed as the manufacturers require, (2) times annually, if not, a minimum of (1) time annually.
7. Thermostat Setting
Set your thermostat at 78 degrees. For each degree setting below 78 degrees Fahrenheit will decrease your energy consumption by approximately 8%.
8. Bath/Kitchen/Other Ventilating Fans
Use bath, kitchen, and other ventilating fans wisely/sparingly when the air conditioner is operating. Turn these fans off as soon as they are no longer needed. In about one hour, these fans can pull out a house-full of cooled or warmed air. They can also pull dangerous furnace combustion gasses into the house in some situations.
Have both evaporator (indoor) and condenser (outdoor) coils inspected and cleaned. The indoor coil in your air conditioner acts as a magnet for dust because it is constantly wetted during the cooling season. Dirt build-up on the indoor coil is the single most common cause of poor efficiency. The outdoor coil must also be checked periodically for dirt build-up and cleaned if necessary.
10. Refrigerant Charge
Have the refrigerant charge (freon) checked. The circulating fluid in your air conditioner is a special refrigerant gas that is put in when the system is installed. If the system is overcharged or undercharged, it will not work properly and cause strain and damage to the system.
11. Cooling Load
Reduce the cooling load by using cost-effective conservation measures. Delay heat-generating activities, such as dishwashing, until the evening on hot days. Effectively shade windows.
Over most of the cooling season, keep the house closed tight during the day. Don’t let in unwanted heat and humidity. If practical, ventilate at night either naturally or with fans.
Try not to use at the same time as your air conditioner is operating. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder.
Check your ducts for air leaks. First look for sections that should be joined but have separated and then look for obvious holes. Do not use duct tape to repair leaky ducts. Standard duct tape has been shown unreliable in sealing duct leaks. Have a licensed contractor make repairs as they have various mastics or non-cloth-backed tapes are preferable.
15. Digital Thermostats
If you have a mercury thermostat, talk to your servicing mechanic about installing a digital programmable or non-programmable thermostat. Mercury thermostats are usually within +/- 3-4 degrees accurate. Digital thermostats are within +/- 1 degree accurate.