A new home is an exciting and complex undertaking. There are a lot of components to understand and care for — and perhaps one of the most important is your HVAC system. Even knowing a little can save you a lot on your energy bills over time.
Do you need a new furnace or air conditioner?
If your ‘new’ home has equipment already installed, it’s important to know how old it is, and whether it was properly serviced. If the previous owner had it maintained regularly by a professional HVAC company, it’s easy to get inspection reports and find out whether or not there were any problems or repairs.
Proper installation is important
If you’re buying – most systems are good and work as advertised – if they’re properly installed. The two main reasons new equipment won’t perform as expected include:
If your unit is too large, it won’t be able to remove humidity adequately. If your unit is too small, it will not be able to reach and/or maintain a comfortable temperature level.
Ducts that have leaks, or are improperly installed, can cause you to lose anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of your energy.
Getting certified HVAC professionals to properly install and charge your heating and cooling system is crucial if you want your equipment to deliver on its rated efficiency.
However, new or existing, there are several things you can do to make sure your HVAC system runs efficiently and lasts as long as possible. These include:
Know your thermostat
Believe it or not, your thermostat can be your best friend. By scheduling your heating and cooling levels into a programmable thermostat, you can customize energy use around your regular weekly schedule. Program your heating and cooling to more energy efficient levels when you’re away at work, and have them automatically adjust to more comfortable levels for the hours you’re usually at home. It’s a simple way to save on your energy output. You can do this manually, but it’s difficult to remember. It’s probably worth getting a new, programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one.
Change air filters
Changing your air filters regularly is a bit like changing the oil in your car regularly. It helps your system heat and cool more efficiently, and saves you money. Clean filters also reduce allergens in the air. If you think you’ll forget, get this service as part of a regular maintenance contract.
Get regular maintenance
Having regular maintenance is a good idea for many reasons — not the least of which is that many equipment warranties require it. Additionally, regular maintenance keeps your equipment running smoothly, may avoid an expensive (and inconvenient) breakdown, and can extend the life of your equipment by as much as 3 to 5 years.
Use window treatments
Snug, energy efficient windows are ideal — but you can also significantly reduce the amount of work your air conditioner has to do by simply keeping curtains/blinds/shutters closed during the day to block out the sun’s heat during warm months. Likewise, having insulated drapes or other window treatments closed overnight during cold months can help keep the heat in and the cold out, and reduce the work your furnace or heat pump has to do.