Numerous sources say that one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for people in 2021 is to save money, which is not really surprising considering how 2020 transpired. Don’t give up now! The experts at Proficient Air are here to help you achieve success and keep this important resolution!
According to Energy Star®, “For the average American household, almost half the annual energy bill goes to heating and cooling – more than $900 a year.” Ouch! That’s a lot of money from our perspective.
This is why our Proficient air conditioning and heating professionals have compiled six helpful HVAC hints to help you save money through your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, arguably the hardest working appliances of homeowners across the Tampa Bay area.
Change the Air Filter
At this point, you may be tired of hearing this recommendation, but it is one of the simplest, most important things a homeowner, property manager, or renter can do to help maintain proper operation of their air conditioning system, improve air quality in the home, and save money. When filters are dirty, airflow becomes restricted, and more energy is required to push the air through the air handler. This escalates energy costs and taxes your air conditioning system.
When your air conditioner has to work harder, it can lead to compressor failure, which can result in expensive repairs or replacement. Filters are readily available online and at your local home, grocery, and department stores. Air filters come in a variety of sizes, styles, and price ranges, based on your system requirements and your family’s needs and budget.
Install a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat is a WiFi-enabled, programmable device that automatically adjusts heating and cooling temperature settings. Energy Star® says, “Smart thermostats that earn the Energy Star label have been independently certified, based on actual field data, to deliver energy savings. Being smart about how you control your temperature settings, will help you save money and stay comfortable in your home.”
Smart thermostats, like myriad other smart devices, can be synced and accessed remotely from your smartphone, for added convenience. Moreover, Energy Star® certified smart thermostats have a low-power standby mode when they are inactive, so less energy is used for added savings.
Another way smart thermostats shave energy costs is the geofencing technology they possess. This technology recognizes when you are away and when you are heading home, and adjusts the temperature settings accordingly to save energy. When the thermostat recognizes you are on your way home, you can expect to find your desired comfort level when you arrive.
You can track and manage your smart thermostat use and temperature data anytime, anywhere, and like your smartphone or tablet, periodic software updates will ensure the device has the most current algorithms and energy-saving features available.
Open Air Vents
When using central air conditioning or heat pumps in the Tampa Bay area, always keep all air conditioning supply registers and vents open. Refrain from closing vents and registers in unused rooms. People often think that by closing off rooms or registers that the cool air directed to these spaces will be redirected to areas more frequently used, which will save energy and money. Doing this really doesn’t save money, and it may lead to costly problems with your air conditioning or heat pump system.
The SaveOnEnergy Learning Center agrees, “Regardless of how many vents you have open, the heater or air conditioner produces the same amount of air. The added pressure from closing a vent can cause air leaks in your system, causing long-term and unnecessary energy waste. Air leaks cause the unit to work harder as it tries to make your home comfortable. In addition, shutting vents could damage your air conditioner or heater, leading to inefficient operation and costly repairs.
Regular HVAC Maintenance Saves Money and Energy
The air conditioning system is an important investment for property owners, so you want to make sure it operates at its optimum year-round for the duration of its life. Maintenance is the key to keeping your air system functioning efficiently and effectively year after year. If repairs are needed, experienced air conditioning repair technicians are experts at assessing equipment and identifying issues. If the air is not being cooled properly, a mechanical issue is likely to become worse when neglected. The professionals at Proficient Air develop an affordable solution, provide an estimate and execute the repairs without hidden costs or fees.
Like air conditioning, heating components require maintenance to keep them clean and operating properly when temperatures plummet. If your heat system fails and repairs become necessary, the experienced heater repair technicians at Proficient Air understand the mechanics of heat pumps, furnaces, and electric heaters to efficiently execute repairs for the warmth and cozy comfort of your home and your family.
Invest in a New A/C System
If your air conditioning unit is ten-years-old or older, consider investing in a more energy-efficient system. Engineering and technology in the air conditioning industry continue to evolve, and manufacturers are producing air conditioner units that operate more efficiently than ever. A thorough analysis of your existing system will determine if a replacement is the right decision for you and your family.
Once you’ve made the decision to buy a new air conditioning system in the Tampa Bay area, check that it has an Energy Star® and SEER rating, along with other features outlined below.
A big yellow sticker found on many appliances, including central air conditioning systems, generally includes the projected energy use of that certified appliance, and it is indicative of an Energy Star® rating. This important tag serves to confirm that the unit meets stringent energy efficiency guidelines as set forth by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
“Energy Star® certified central air conditioners have higher SEER and energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings and use 8% less energy than conventional new models,” says the United States Department of Energy (DOE).
The DOE recommends new central air conditioners also include:
- A thermal expansion valve and a high-temperature rating (EER) greater than 11.6, for high-efficiency operation, when the weather is at its hottest
- A variable speed air handler for new ventilation systems
- A unit that operates quietly
- A fan-only switch, so you can use the unit for nighttime ventilation to substantially reduce air-conditioning costs
- A filter check light to remind you to check the filter after a predetermined number of operating hours
- An automatic-delay fan switch to turn off the fan a few minutes after the compressor turns off.
If your air handler seems to be operating well, the DOE recommends that homeowners replace their air handler when they buy a new central air conditioning system. It stands to reason that an air handler more than 15 years-old could compromise the overall energy efficiency of your new air conditioner.
Evaluate your Ductwork
This is not something you can do with the naked eye, but a professional evaluation of the ductwork in your home using a thermal imaging camera will show if there are areas of leakage. Losing cool air due to a leaking duct means your air conditioner is running more frequently, using more energy, and costing you more money.
“Leaky ducts can reduce heating and cooling system efficiency by as much as 20%. Sealing and insulating ducts increases efficiency, lowers your energy bills, and can often pay for itself in energy savings. Plus, if you’re planning to install new heating and cooling equipment, a well-designed and sealed duct system may allow you to downsize to a smaller, less-costly heating and cooling system that will provide better dehumidification,” says Energy Star®.
Everyone at Proficient Air wants our families, friends, and neighbors to succeed with their New Year’s resolutions. If your resolution is to save money in 2021, try implementing these helpful HVAC hints to start saving more energy and money today!
Proficient Air in Palm Harbor offers a variety of high-quality air conditioning and heating systems, as well as routine maintenance contracts that are specifically tailored to meet your needs and budget. Contact Proficient Air when it’s time for air conditioning and heating maintenance, air conditioner and heater repairs, and new air conditioning or heat system installation in the Tampa Bay area. 727.386.2732
Energy Star® – Heating and Cooling
Energy Star® – Smart Thermostats
Energy Star® – Duct Sealing
Energy Star® – Central Air Conditioning
Department of Energy
SaveOnEnergy Learning Center