10 Ways to Make Your HVAC System More Energy Efficient and Save Money on Your Energy Bills
Did you know that your HVAC system can account for as much as 50% of the total energy consumed by your building? It will not be long before the temperatures begin to soar into the 80s and 90s here in Houston, and your electricity bills will rise in tandem with the rising temperatures. How can you save money on cooling your building when you need to keep it cool? The good news is that there are practical ways to reduce the amount of energy your air conditioning system consumes.
1. Replace older, inefficient air conditioning and heating systems with newer, higher-efficiency systems.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), every dollar invested in energy efficiency can yield a return on investment of two to three times the amount invested. In the case of equipment that is more than ten years old, upgrading to more energy-efficient equipment can pay for itself in a surprisingly short period of time. Check the SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) on your air conditioner, which indicates how efficient the cooling equipment is during the summer months. The most energy-efficient systems available today have ratings between 14 and 18. It’s possible that your older model is only rated something like five or 10. When compared to an older cooling system with a SEER rating of 8, a newer cooling system with a SEER rating of 16 can cost half as much to operate.
2. Conduct an energy audit to determine your energy consumption requirements.
Determine when different areas of the building are occupied, and then install programmable thermostats to reduce energy consumption when it is not required. When it comes to larger buildings, you can implement zoning and even computerized building automation systems to have more precise control over your energy consumption.
3. Ensure there are no air flow obstructions
When arranging furniture layouts and carpeting installations, make sure that air grilles and ductwork are not obstructed by the materials. It is necessary to consult with an HVAC professional to evaluate your system design if building occupants are purposefully blocking vents because the temperature is too cold. A simple change that does not waste energy is most likely all that is required to solve the problem.
4. Do a thorough clean-up.
Make sure that leaves and other debris don’t accumulate around your outdoor air conditioning unit. This simple action keeps dirt from clogging up your system and ensures that airflow paths are not obstructed. Also, don’t forget about your rooftop unit! It’s possible that birds or insects will build nests in your attic, causing damage to your system.
5. Opt for equipment that has the ENERGY STAR label.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established strict energy efficiency standards for these units. Plus, to be fair, there aren’t really a lot of air conditioning units available that ARE NOT Energy Star Products. They can be up to 15 percent more efficient than conventional systems when operating at peak performance. According to the United States Department of Energy, these systems can save you between $3 and $4 per square foot in energy costs over the course of the equipment’s useful life span. In addition, you may be eligible for rebates from your utility company, depending on your situation.
6. Reevaluate your system when the building’s usage patterns shifts.
As the use of a building changes over time, it is possible that the air conditioning system is no longer suitable for the current layout and usage. Remodeling, adding more heat-generating equipment (such as computers), changing interior walls, and rearranging cubicle layouts can all have an impact on the efficiency of your air conditioning system. Consult with an HVAC professional from Air Check Mechanical to ensure that the system is designed properly. Small adjustments can sometimes improve the efficiency of your system while also lowering your energy costs.
7. Make use of economizers.
It is the job of energy economizers to determine when the outside air is sufficiently cool and dry to provide comfortable conditions inside. If the weather conditions are favorable, outside air can be used instead of running the air conditioner, resulting in a reduction in energy consumption. It’s a great idea, and the small upfront price is quickly paid for in savings.
8. Increase the temperature in the house
Even a small increase can help you save money on your energy bills while also improving the comfort of your building’s occupants and even increasing worker productivity. Healthcare professionals recommend temperatures between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 78 degrees Fahrenheit for sedentary work, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). When the temperature was raised to 77°F, according to a study conducted by Cornell University, office workers’ productivity increased by 150 percent. Of course, somewhere in the band is OK as well.
9. Keep the heat out of the room.
When it’s hot outside, use blinds and shades on windows facing west and south to keep the heat out. Being outside in the sun while your air conditioner is trying to cool you is counterproductive! If you are leaving for a long period of time, considering turning off the unit.
10. Don’t forget to keep up with regular maintenance.
Maintaining your air conditioner on a regular basis is the simplest and most effective way to save money on its energy consumption and thus save money. Clogged air filters, dirty vents, condensers that have accumulated grime, and worn parts in your condenser all cause your system to work harder in order to produce the same cooling results, resulting in your system using more energy as a result of the increased workload. At the very least, have your system inspected, cleaned, and serviced once per year by a licensed Air Check Mechanical Service technician. Not only will you save on energy costs, but you will also avoid equipment breakdowns, which can result in even greater savings.