Energy Costs - Constantly on the Rise
With skyrocketing energy costs, it is just good sense for homeowners and business owners to get the best energy efficiency from their HVAC system.
While an older, outdated home heating system may need replacing with a state-of-the-art energy star system, many other existing systems can yield better energy efficient heating with regular HVAC maintenance. As well as routine HVAC cleaning, to insure units are in peak operating condition.
Ways to Optimize Energy Efficiency
There are two ways to insure optimum savings when it comes to an energy efficient heating system:
- 1. When purchasing equipment for a new HVAC installation, be sure to get the highest energy star rating possible. This will insure that your system meets stringent government guidelines for optimum energy savings, and might qualify you for an energy star tax rebate or some other type of rebate.â€¨
- 2. For an existing system, make sure it is kept clean and functioning at peak performance; yielding optimum energy performance for that system. Regular maintenance will also keep a small inexpensive problem from becoming a large expensive heating repair issue.
A good preventative maintenance program includes an annual inspection by an HVAC technician, performing the following checklist:
- Inspect and change furnace air filter as required. Note: it is also important for home and business owners to check and replace the filter; an easy DIY heating task requiring very little skill or experience. This should be done monthly to avoid restricted air flow; resulting in reduced energy efficiency.
- Check mechanical and electric components. Make sure that HVAC control relays and switches are operating properly; also check to ensure blower bearings and motors are in good repair and adequately lubricated.
- Inspect heat exchanger to ensure there are no cracks, leaks or other potential for carbon monoxide to enter the building.
- Inspect and clean drain pans and pipes, blower assembly, fan blades, evaporator and condenser coils, heat exchanger, and air return and intake. Make sure proper air flow is attained; if diminished, find and clean the blockage causing the problem.
Note: HVAC duct cleaning is one service with a high degree of hype and high pressure sales techniques. There are only certain conditions requiring this type service. For instance, mold or mildew, blockage, or heavy soiling; such as construction residue.
- If the unit has a fuel burning system, check the burner for proper ignition and fuel mixture.
- Check HVAC thermostat for proper calibration and operation. An older mercury switch manual thermostat with poor calibration can allow ambient room temperature to fluctuate as much as 8ºF or more. This causes the HVAC to run harder and longer, to bring the temperature up to the proper setting each time the heat kicks on.
Installing a replacement thermostat may be the best solution for the above problem. A programmable thermostat automatically lowers room temperature when the building is unoccupied, and raises temperature during times of use. A digital thermostat also keeps ambient room temperature even, with little or no fluctuation. This translates into considerable energy savings!
It is also a good idea to â€œtest runâ€ the heating and air conditioning components well before each heating or cooling season. In the event of a problem, this allows ample time to schedule HVAC troubleshooting and necessary HVAC repair.
Air Conditioning Needs Regular Maintenance, Too
A common newer HVAC system provides heating, ventilation, and air conditioning for the entire building (hence the abbreviation HVAC). However, some buildings, especially older ones, may have a stand alone air conditioning unit as part of the overall heating and air conditioning system.
The same guidelines for preventative maintenance hold true for cooling systems, to avoid costly air conditioning repair or reduced energy efficiency:
- Annual pre-season inspection and testing of the system.
- Make sure drain pans and pipes are clean.
- Make sure evaporator coils and condenser coils are clean, and surrounding space is not blocked by objects or debris that restricts air flow.
- Check air conditioning filter; clean or replace as necessary. Note: a window air conditioner filter can usually be cleaned and re-used.
- Correct small problems before they become big costly ones.
Incorporate Alternative Heating Sources Into Your HVAC Design
Alternative heating sources such as geothermal heat, solar heat, pellet or wood stoves, and fireplaces can all substantially reduce heating and energy costs.
Whether retro-fitting the HVAC unit or undertaking a new installation in a home or business, careful consideration and implementation of these heat sources into the overall HVAC design can save money in the long run. And with regular attention to the heating system in your home maintenance program, you can enjoy cost-effective heat for many years to come.
Locate a Professional
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