Many American homeowners want a green approach for many reasons. Some homeowners want eco-friendly systems to reduce costs and save energy. Others want to focus on reducing their carbon footprint. Whatever the reason, consider starting with your HVAC system. Having a high-efficiency system installed can be an investment that will ultimately help you save on energy costs.
Here are a few tips you can use your HVAC systems in an environmentally friendly way:
Air Conditioning and the Environment
Air conditioners use a lot of electricity to operate. Electricity production emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas. And, at high levels, can contribute to global warming.
Additionally, air conditioners use refrigerant. Refrigerant is a compound that removes heat from the air as it cycles through the AC. Used properly, it is safe for the environment. But if it starts leaking or is prohibited, like R22, refrigerant contaminates the atmosphere and causes a warming effect.
Tips for Improving the Efficiency of Your HVAC System
With rising energy costs and increased concern for the environment, many people are looking for ways to make their homes more energy-efficient and eco-friendly. As the most-used system in the house, your HVAC system is a great place to start and an area where you can make a real impact. At Aire-Tech, we too are concerned about our environment. Below we have provided three helpful tips for making your HVAC system more eco-friendly.
- Use the Right Size Air Conditioning Unit
When you use an air conditioner, make sure the unit is the right size for the building. An air conditioning unit that’s too big will not properly cool your home and will keep running in an inefficient manner.
The air conditioning unit will continue to run thinking the space is larger than it really is. This situation results in overuse of the air conditioning unit resulting in a less than favorable environmental situation.
When you use the right size air conditioning unit for your home, you will save energy by not overreaching with lower temperatures. Plus, you will save money by not having to pay for your air conditioning system to run continuously.
- Reduce Your Reliance on Your AC
A great way to reduce how much you use your air conditioner is to set the temperature a few degrees warmer than you initially think you need. When it is very warm outside, your AC works overtime to keep your home cool. However, we don’t need our AC set to 68 degrees to feel comfortable. Setting the thermostat to 72-74 degrees will provide plenty of relief from hot outside temperatures without making your AC work as hard, leading to less energy use.
Though we need our AC systems to keep our homes at a reasonably cool temperature during the summer months, there are a few things you can do to maximize your cooling system.
Ways to reduce reliance on your AC include:
- Utilize fans to maximize airflow
- Keep your blinds and curtains closed during the hottest part of the day
- Open your windows overnight when the temperature drops to encourage cool air to flow through your home
- Turn off your lights during the hottest part of the day
- Install blackout blinds or curtains to keep the sun from heating your home
- Avoid using your oven during the hottest part of the day
- Make sure your home is well-insulated
- Seal and balance your air ducts
- Use Your Landscaping to Your Advantage
If you have trees in your yard, you can use them to help keep the temperatures indoors at a comfortable level, especially during the summer months. Trees provide a natural shade, blocking the light and heat from the sun. You can then enjoy a cooler home and will not need to use your AC as frequently. This way, you conserve energy and reduce the cost of your energy consumption.
- Keep Your System Well-Maintained
HVAC maintenance is crucial for keeping your heating and cooling systems running at peak performance. When a trained technician has a chance to inspect behind the scenes of your equipment, clean and lubricate parts, check for dirty air filters, and make minor parts replacements and repairs, your system will operate as efficiently as possible. And when it doesn’t have to run as long to heat or cool your home, you’ll draw less power from the grid.
This conservation of energy isn’t just good for the planet; it also means you’ll enjoy lower monthly energy bills too. When combined with proper thermostat settings, annual HVAC maintenance can help homeowners save up to 30% on their heating and cooling bills.
- Seal Leaks In Your Ductwork
Energy Star reports that 20 to 30 percent of the air moving through ductwork is lost due to holes, leaks and poorly connected ducts. That equates to a lot of wasted energy. Once you hire a professional Aire-Tech contractor to seal your ductwork, you might be surprised by how much your energy bill goes down.
- Use the Correct HVAC Filters
Change your HVAC filters every three months. You can compare Merv rating vs. FPR and choose the rating that’s most energy efficient for your home.
Keeping your filters clean and using the right ones will help you be as environmentally friendly in your HVAC system practices as possible. Changing your HVAC filters is easy to do and a necessity.
- Use a Programmable Thermostat
To fully commit to eco-friendly and energy saving air conditioning, it is vital that your unit has a thermostat which is fully programmable so you can set the program to suit the times when you are at home. This helps to prevent wasted energy as you can ensure the system is switched off when you’re not at home and if you have a regular schedule, you can automate this process and remove the need to remember to switch the system on and off. This is a great way to go green because your HVAC system does not have to work at a high capacity all the time just to keep a comfortable indoor temperature. Temperature changes can actually help reduce the amount of energy consumed and a programmable thermostat can help you become more eco-friendly.
- Consider HVAC Zoning
Another way to be greener with your HVAC system is to use HVAC zoning. Zoning allows you to divide your home into different zones that can be cooled or heated independently at different temperatures. That way, you and other family members can enjoy customized temperatures based on your preferences. You could even turn off the heat/cold in a specified area that is unused, such as a guest bedroom or bathroom. If you have a room that receives several hours of direct sunlight, you could make the necessary adjustments in your thermostat so that the room is cooled or heated appropriately. You could also look into a ductless HVAC system. Not only is this an eco-friendly option but it is also very efficient.
- Get Proper Insulation for Your Home
Insulation plays a key role in keeping your home comfortable and green. The US Department of Energy estimates that areas in a home that do not have proper insulation consume about 30% of your energy use. Schedule an audit from an Aire-Tech expert so any spots that do not have proper insulation can be identified. Very often, problem areas can be fixed using weatherstripping and caulking, while other areas will need a professional fix. By ensuring that proper insulation is installed, you are assured that your HVAC system will be working at the optimal level.
- Reuse Water from Air Conditioning Units
Another way to turn your ordinary home into an Eco-friendly building is to reuse water from air conditioning units. Condensation builds up on air conditioning units which amounts to quite a bit of water over time.
You can have a runoff area for this water and use it to water flowers, wash your car, and pursue other outdoor non-potable uses.
- When It’s Time to Replace, Choose an Eco-Friendly Model
Most air conditioners last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. The average homeowner can expect to get around 15 years out of their air conditioner. When it’s time to replace your AC, you should look for a new model that is highly efficient and Energy Star certified. Using guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Energy Star products are some of the best on the market and can help you positively impact the environment.
If you have an older HVAC system or air conditioning units, you may find that all the measures that can be put in place cannot improve their energy efficiency enough. Check the age of your system and accept that if it’s over a certain age, it simply will not be able to meet the energy efficiency and environmental standards you want for your home. In this instance, you will have to consider replacing the whole system, and when starting from scratch, you can choose the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly model on the market.
As you gain experience as a homeowner, you will gather your own tricks of the trade that help you save energy. In the meantime, we hope our ideas are a good start. Our team can help you evaluate the best options for your home based on its size and heating and cooling needs.
If your system needs repair or inspection before winter, call us on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.