Understanding how an HVAC unit works and how to best maintain it can enable you to avoid common HVAC repair problems and save money on heating and cooling. As this resource from refrigerationschool.com explains, even though HVAC equipment is mechanically complex, it is not hard to find ways to lower your energy bill while keeping the home at a good temperature.
Understanding the Basics
The four main types of HVAC units are the air conditioner, heat pump, boiler and furnace. Hot or cold air is distributed via a forced air, radiant or gravity-based system. Research has shown that radiant heating and cooling systems are particularly energy efficient but the fact is that any type of system has both advantages and disadvantages.
HVAC units need to be maintained both by a homeowner and a professional. Homeowners should replace or clean filters at least once a month, as doing so can reduce energy consumption by up to 15%. Yearly DIY maintenance jobs include cleaning the coil fins, heat exchanger and evaporator coil. Drains should be cleaned as and when needed. A professional HVAC technician should be called in to tune up the HVAC unit twice a year to extend the unit’s lifespan.
A thermostat controls a home’s HVAC system. The United States Department of Energy recommends that the thermostat temperature be set at 68F for the winter. This setting can be lowered when sleeping or out of the home. For summer, the temperature should be set at no lower than 78F. Raising the temperature by a single degree in the winter (or lowering it by a single degree in the summer) can increase your energy bill by up to 1%.
Why It’s Worth It
An average monthly electric bill ranges from $279 to $359 depending on your geographical location. Up to 48% of all energy consumed in the average home is used to heat or cool the home and a single Kilowatt of electricity costs an average of 12.12 cents. Thankfully, you do not have to spend large amounts of money every month to keep your home at a pleasant temperature. The tips outlined above and in the following infographic can help you save a significant amount of money while still keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer.