While the bulk of maintaining your HVAC system should be left to the professionals, there are things you can do to maximize its operating efficiency. Utilizing the five strategies listed below can minimize malfunctions – and save you serious money in repairs.
Recognize Indicators of Potential Problems
Learn to recognize the signs of a sick HVAC unit. Unusual smells, loud noises, and higher than usual utility bills are all signals that something is wrong. Likewise, if your unit is cycling constantly, or simply not keeping your indoor environment comfortable, it’s time to call in a professional. Don’t put it off – addressing any problems sooner rather than later helps avoid costly major repairs down the line.
Test for Airflow Leaks
Leaky air ducts translate into inefficient operations and too-high energy bills. To test for leaky air ducts, hold a candle or incense stick near your HVAC connections. Wafting smoke signals airflow leaks. Fortunately, most airflow leaks can be easily repaired with foil tape. More drastic leaks can be sealed with duct mastic tape.
Invest in Sufficient Insulation
Insufficient insulation is a leading cause of high utility bills. Adding insulation, especially in an attic, can make your HVAC system operate much more efficiently. The savings in utilities will more than make up the cost of added insulation.
Consider Thermostat and Condenser Placement
Avoid placing condenser units and thermostats in areas that receive direct sunlight. Otherwise, thermostats may not register correct temperatures, and condenser units will cycle more often than they would otherwise. If moving the thermostat or condenser unit is not an option, try shielding them from the sun with screening.
Take Advantage of Low-Tech Savings Strategies
Your HVAC unit is a sophisticated and complex piece of equipment. However, helping it to run more efficiently does not necessarily have to be complicated. Close curtains and blinds during the heat of the day to minimize heat gain. Run ceiling fans counterclockwise to force cooler air down into your rooms. Doing so allows you to turn up the temperature on your HVAC unit while still remaining cool and comfortable.