Every homeowner can reduce the utility bill by reducing the amount of electrical power used in the home. It is best to begin with the appliance that uses the most energy. This is the home’s HVAC system. It is responsible for thirty percent or more of a home’s energy usage. The following tips will help reduce energy use and lower the utility bill.
Invest in energy efficient, reversible ceiling fans for each room. Set the spin of the blades to clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on the heating or cooling season. During the summer, the blades help circulate the cooled air in the room. The breeze makes the room feel cooler, thus the thermostat can be set at a higher temperature. In the winter, warm air is circulated throughout the room. The thermostat can be set at a lower temperature because the room feels warmer.
The home’s air conditioner needs regular maintenance in order to work efficiently all year long. The system pulls in household air through the filter and sends it to the heating unit or evaporator coils. The filter stops contaminants such as dust and hair from entering the appliance and coating the coils. If this happens, the unit will work harder, not be able to effectively dehumidify the air and use far more energy than it needs to. To prevent this, change the unit’s air filters at least once a month. Some room vents also have filters that need to be changed as well. There are reusable filters that can be cleaned with a blast from the garden hose. When dry, they can be replaced and used again.
The Outside Condenser Unit
The filters are not the only air conditioner maintenance the system needs. Every month, ensure the outside condensing unit is free from plants and other debris. Nothing should be placed on top of the unit. Inspect the belts and hoses visually and have any worn or cracked items replaced immediately. This will prevent the unit failing when it is needed the most. During the summer, provide the unit with shade so the motor can run cooler. Inspect the aluminum fins and straighten any bent ones with a fin comb.
The Inside Evaporator Unit
Inspect the inside evaporator unit. Notice if any electrical wiring appears cracked or worn. These should be replaced immediately as well. Pour a cup or two of household bleach into the drain pan and drain hose. This will kill any algae, mold or fungus growing in the hose. Left unchecked, it can block the hose and cause water to back up into the house.
Have the home’s ducting system inspected and cleaned once a year. Leaking ducts allow moist air to escape into the attic where it can cause mold growth and water damage.
Article by Ryan Edun of Iceburg’s One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning.