According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the fall and winter seasons of 2016 are projected to be the costliest periods of energy consumption we’ve seen in years. Although we cannot stop the fuel prices and cold weather forecasts which are causing the crisis, we can take steps within our own homes to ensure our HVAC systems are running as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible for the upcoming months.
Replace the Air Filters
This advice is especially important if you haven’t been cleaning the air filters regularly over the spring and summer seasons. Dusty filters result in increased heating costs over the fall and winter, not to mention the contaminated air quality. Keep a few spare filters on hand and look for packs and buy in bulk for more savings. Modern options can claim that they filter the air better than others, however, a basic filter will suffice. The higher the MERV rating, the harder your system will have to work to force air through the filter.
Clean the Vents
Dirty vents collect heaps of allergens and contribute to a lack of airflow, resulting in increased heating costs. Additionally, making sure the vents are cleaned regularly contributes to the aforementioned protection of air quality. If you cannot reach or access a blockage, call professionals to help you with the issue.
Do Not Block the Vents
This can sometimes be difficult to consider, particularly in homes with less space, but ideally, your vents should have at least a few feet of space around them to circulate airflow. Rooms with blocked vents will not become properly ventilated. If your system seems to be working harder, try moving furniture around to allow for a better current.
Turn the Temperature Down Before You Go To Bed
As a general rule of thumb, the closer a thermostat’s temperature is to the temperature outside, the more money you will save. Turning the settings down a few degrees while you nestle under your blankets will help you save on energy costs. Overworking a unit can also cause malfunctions. Be careful not to overload your system with drastic changes. Switching your fans to the winter mode will help circulate heated air, as well.
Make Sure Your Home is Properly Sealed
Air leakage is among the most pernicious and least detected causes of high energy costs. Check that windows are sealed and inspect the house for any cracks or holes. A good place to look would be around areas where cables have been installed. If you do find cracks or holes, they can be easily sealed with caulking. If you suspect a leak, use a flashlight at night to see if dust particles are seeping in or out of entryways. Many times doors need new seals to prevent the loss of heat from your home and this quick fix is inexpensive.