A dirty filter could increase energy use by 5-15%. Not only will a dirty filter drive up energy costs, it also makes it harder for your system to work, decreases comfort, and causes stress on your system.
If you have a standard filter, we recommend checking it once a month, and cleaning or replacing as needed. After a few months adjust your schedule to match your needs. For high-efficiency filters, follow your manufacturer’s recommendations. Mark it on your calendar so you don’t forget!
Proper airflow is vital to maintaining system efficiency. Without it, it will develop pressure problems that will make your system work harder. Which means, you’ll be less comfortable, and your system will use more energy (leaving less in your wallet).
Take a few minutes and check vents and cold air returns to ensure they have room to breathe. You’ll want to have at least 3 inches between vents and furnishings or personal items (even light fabrics can decrease airflow).
HEATING: One thing we commonly see is stored items way too close to the heating system. This is a huge safety issue and also restricts air flow. Nothing should be stored within 12 inches of your system. Keep flammables in another room.
COOLING: Clear away dirt and debris (fallen leaves, grass clippings, etc.) that have collected around the condenser unit. Trim foliage back at least 12 inches (preferably 24) to allow enough airflow around the unit. If you use your hose to do the cleaning, do not spray directly at the condenser coils as this may drive debris deeper inside. Instead, angle the nozzle, so it sprays perpendicular to the side of the coil.
Avoid blocking vents and registers with furnishings. Adjust registers in rooms that need more or less cooling or heat but don’t close more than one or two of them. Closing registers completely can drive up energy costs and cause extra stress on your system.
Unless you are at home 24/7 doing the same activities all day, you probably don’t need to keep your home the same temperature all the time. Programmable thermostats make it easy to adjust settings to maximize comfort when you need it and take advantage of energy savings when you don’t.
Caulk your windows and weather-strip your doors. Also take a look in your attic, crawl space, or basement for potential leaks that need to be sealed.
Windows can be one of the largest contributors to your heat gain (unless you have windows designed to reduce solar heat gain, that is). Consider shading windows that face east and west on hot days. You can accomplish this with landscaping, screens, or window treatments.
A well-placed tree can go a long way to help protect the efficiency of your system. Keeping your A/C system in the shade could make it 10% more efficient than if it is located in direct sun (…remember you need a 2 ft clearance).
Ceiling fans don't actually make the room cooler, but they make you feel cooler (think wind-chill). Make sure the fan is going in the correct direction so it is pushing air downward toward you (the higher edge of the fan-blade should be the leading edge in its rotation). Reverse for the heating season.
If the filter is too dense, you could ‘strangle’ your system by not allowing enough airflow. A filter that is too thin (like the cheap ones you can pick up at the Grocery or Home Improvement store) won’t stop enough dust and debris to protect your system. Choose a filter that is approved by the manufacturer of your system.
Nytech, the EPA, energy experts, and your equipment’s manufacturer recommend that you have annual maintenance (tune-ups) performed on both your heating and cooling system once a year. Annual maintenance will help keep your system running efficiently, improve your comfort, promote longer equipment life, and help lower utility costs.