Energy Saving Tips : Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) is the largest load in the average household. The electric usage of a central heating and air conditioning system can represent anywhere between 40 and 55% of the average monthly electric bill. Yet, by doing little things, you can not only remain comfortable, but you can also reduce your monthly electric usage.
- "Tune-up" your heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system with an annual maintenance contract. Even a new ENERGY STAR qualified HVAC system, like a new car, will decline in performance without regular maintenance. A contract automatically ensures that your HVAC contractor will provide "pre-season" tune-ups before each cooling and heating season. You save energy and money, and your system may last years longer with minimal costs yearly maintenance fees.
- Regularly change (or clean if reusable) HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating season. New filters usually only cost a few dollars. Dirty filters cost more to use, overwork the equipment, and result in lower indoor air quality.
- Install an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat to automate your HVAC system. This solid-state, electronic device optimizes HVAC operation "24/7" based on your schedule, and can be "overridden" as needed for unscheduled events. So consumers and staff always enter a comfortable facility, this "smart thermostat" can turn on the HVAC one hour before arrival instead of heating or cooling unoccupied space.
- Control direct sun through windows depending on the season and local climate. During cooling season, block direct heat gain from the sun shining through glass on the east and especially west sides of the facility. Depending on your facility, options such as "solar screens," "solar films," awnings, and vegetation can help. Over time, trees can attractively shade the facility, and help clean the air. Interior curtains or drapes can help, but it's best to prevent the summer heat from getting past the glass and inside. During heating season, with the sun low in the South, unobstructed southern windows can contribute solar heat gain during the day.
- Use fans. Comfort is a function of temperature, humidity, and air movement. Moving air can make a somewhat higher temperature and/or humidity feel comfortable. Fans can help delay or reduce the need for air conditioning, and a temperature setting of only 3 to 5 degrees higher can feel as comfortable with fans. Each degree of higher temperature can save about 3% on cooling costs. When the temperature outside is more comfortable than inside, a "box fan" in the window, or large "whole facility" fan in the attic can push air out of the facility and pull in comfortable outside air. Fans can improve comfort and save energy year round.
- Plug leaks with weather stripping and caulking. Caulking and weather stripping let you manage your ventilation, which is the deliberate controlled exchange of stuffy inside air for fresher outdoor air. To learn more about indoor air quality in your facility visit EPA's Indoor Air Quality.
- You want to cut back your electricity expense or think over global warming issues. Heat and cool your houses are the largest energy deflation as well as ineffective automobiles. You will be able to decrease the electricity use so you will reduce your expense and less effect to the environment.
One thing is guaranteed during summers in the South – hot, humid days. With daytime temperatures consistently reaching the mid - to upper 90s and heat indices in the lower 100s, summertime is also a time of high electric bills. Below are some tips to battle the heat and lower your monthly electric bill:
- A well-maintained cooling system will run more efficiently, use less energy and lower energy bills, so clean or replace AC filters monthly or as needed.
- Keep both outdoor and indoor air conditioner coils clean. Dirt build-up on the indoor coil is the single most common cause of poor operating efficiency.
- Ceiling and other fans provide additional cooling and better circulation so you can raise the thermostat and cut down on air conditioning costs. A ceiling fan will actually make your skin feel a couple of degrees cooler. Plus, a ceiling fan running 24/7 only costs a few dollars monthly to operate.
- Plug energy leaks by caulking and weather stripping all seams, cracks and openings to the outside. You can save 10 percent or more on energy bills by reducing air leaks.
Reduce the cooling load by effectively shading east and west windows. When possible, delay heat-producing activities such as dish washing until the evening. Close curtains during the day, and install awnings on south-facing windows. Plant shade trees or vines.
Old Man Winter not only brings frigid temperatures – he can also bring much higher electric bills. By utilizing a few simple tips, you will not only keep Old Man Winter at bay, you will also be more comfortable and feel warm inside knowing you have lowered your monthly electric bill.
- Each degree makes a difference. Keep your heating system’s thermostat at recommended setting of 68oF. For each degree you raise the thermostat above the recommended setting, you are adding 3 to 4% to your monthly electric bill.
- If your home is drafty, find the sources. Caulk around all windows and weather strip around each door.
- Use the winter sun to your advantage. On sunny winter days, keep your blinds or drapes open to allow the sun to help warm your home. To reduce drafts, draw your drapes or blinds closed when the sun goes down.
- If you have a fireplace but do not use it, keep the damper closed. If left open your fireplace damper is like an open window – allowing heated air to escape your home. This will also keep cold air out from entering your home.
- Consider buying a programmable thermostat. While you are snug in your bed, a programmable thermostat will allow for you to lower your thermostat and reduce the run time of your heating system.
Want more money for the holidays? Look to your heating system. Nowhere is Old Man Winter’s effects felt more than on your monthly heating bills. Heating costs represent about 50% to 60% of your monthly electric bill.
- A well-maintained heating system will run more efficiently, use less energy, and lower energy bills, so clean or replace AC filters monthly or as needed.
- Have your heating system professionally checked and serviced.
- Don’t block the heating registers. Blocked air vents and registers reduce airflow and make your unit run longer, adding to your monthly bill. If your supply registers are in the floor of your home, make sure they are not blocked by furniture or drapes.
- Make sure your ductwork is properly sealed. Cracks in your ductwork can increase your bills significantly. Keep warm air where you want it – in your home.
- Keep dust from accumulating on your supply and return registers.
Electrical Energy saving tips
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