The more we spend on unnecessary bills, the more we use up money that could be going toward vacations, retirement, or education. One of the biggest hits to an electric bill is your home’s HVAC unit. You want to use it and keep your home comfortable, but you don’t want the huge bills. Well, you can avoid big bills if you’re smart about how you use your heating and cooling. Here are the top 10 ways to get better HVAC energy efficiency.

1. Turn Off Electronics

When you leave your exercise machines, television, and laptops plugged in all day, even when they’re not in use, they use up electricity. It’s not as much electricity as if they were on, but they are still using electricity. Unplugging them will help you save money on your electric bill. However, these items also generate heat when plugged in. Consider then, that this will only make your house hotter in the summer. When your house is hotter, your HVAC system will have to work harder to cool it down.

2. Use Curtains/Sunlight

Sometimes your windows will make a difference in the temperature of the house. In the winter, you can leave the curtains open to allow the sun into the house. This can help warm the house up. Of course, this will only work on the days when the sun is out. The sun might not be out too much in the winter. In the summer when you want to keep your home cool, the sun can be a problem. You can get energy-efficient blinds designed to help keep the sun out, but at the very least, you can hang curtains or drapes to help block the sun’s hot rays.

3. Ensure Proper Ventilation

It doesn’t matter how well your HVAC system works if the air can’t get where it needs to go. You need to make sure the circulation in your home is free from any obstructions. You should be sure to keep the area around your HVAC unit clear from twigs, leaves, and other things that can get caught in it. You should also keep the gutters clean. Inside, pay attention if you notice any rooms that aren’t getting the right amount of air so that you can look into the problem and fix it.

4. Use Fans

Many of us rely on the HVAC system to keep the home cool. However, it’s important to remember to use the fans you have available to you in your home. They use up significantly less energy. You also can use a fan to help cool one room instead of the whole house. You can even buy additional fans. With all of these fans, you may not even have to turn the HVAC system on at all. If you do, you can set it to a much more moderate temperature.

5. Change/Clean the Filter

Every HVAC system has a filter. This filter picks up any dust or hair that gets caught in it. You need to change or clean this filter regularly. There should be an indicator on the unit to tell you when the filter needs to be cleaned or changed. You should also clean it before summer when you will be using it the most. The process should be relatively easy. Ask your local maintenance professional to help you if you are unsure.

6. Change the Indoor Temperature

You probably have a set temperature you like in the summer and the winter. Instead of setting the temperature to your ideal temperature, set it one or two degrees off. Just that little change could result in some serious savings. You can always wear sweaters and thick socks in the winter and cool outfits in the summer to make up for the slight difference. Eventually, your body will get used to the change.

7. Automatic Thermostats

Naturally, you don’t need to keep your house warm or cool when no one is home. For that reason, many people change the temperature when they leave for the day. However, it’s easy to forget to do this. Luckily, you can get a thermostat that will change automatically when you want it to. There are special thermostats specifically designed to do this. You install the new thermostat and connect it to your smartphone or computer. You can then set at what time on what days to automatically change the temperature. You can even set it to change the temperature back later in the day. Many options are extremely user friendly. You can even change the temperature of your home in real time from anywhere with your phone.

8. Add Insulation to Your Home

Your unit may be working perfectly. However, it could still be working harder than necessary if the controlled air gets out. This can happen when your home doesn’t have enough insulation. Insulation is material placed in walls and other areas of your home to, you guessed it, insulate it. Insulate essentially means to keep the outside air outside while keeping the inside air inside. There are three types of insulation: foam, fiberglass, and cellulose. There are other ways to help insulate your home better. You can insulate your roof. You can also get windows and doors specifically designed to keep your home insulated.

9. Get Regular Professional Maintenance

You bring your car in for regular maintenance at least once a year. Your HVAC system requires similar attention. Even new systems should get regular maintenance done once a year by an HVAC professional. They will examine the unit to ensure it’s working at top efficiency. They will also give it a tune-up that will be better than any maintenance you could perform on it. This will keep it running well for a long time.

10. Get a Brand-New HVAC System

There are a number of reasons why it may be better just to get a brand new system. If your appliance is over 20 years old, it’s already reaching the end of its life. As it gets older, it will naturally start losing efficiency. It won’t get better with time, either. Recognize when you’ve reached that point. Other signs include the air not blowing the properly and leaks. When you start to shop for a new unit, you should look into HVAC systems with the Energy Star sticker. These products are designed to be more efficient from the start. Not all units are the same, though. Be sure to pay attention to the details to get the best one for the environment and your pocketbook.

Your HVAC system will cost you money. However, it doesn’t have to cost as much as it is right now. By changing the filter regularly, using automated thermostats, setting the temperature a couple of degrees off, and getting regular maintenance, you can improve efficiency.

If your unit isn’t working like it used to, call JW Plumbing, Heating and Air in Los Angeles. We can help get your unit running properly. If it’s time for a new unit altogether, we’ll handle the installation. We’re also qualified to help with repairs, maintenance, indoor air quality, water heater replacements, and much more. Call us today to learn how we can help with all of your indoor comfort needs.

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