In any home, the HVAC system is one of the most expensive, plus it uses the most energy. It’s got a big job to do, too. Most units operate – to some degree – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So saving energy is a worthy goal that many homeowners aim for.
Unfortunately, great ideas aren’t always great in reality. Sometimes the tips and tricks that homeowners try can lead to increased operating costs, damage to the system, and a home that’s not as comfortable as it could be.
Here are 4 avoidable mistakes that could cost you money.
#1: Setting the Thermostat Too High or Too Low
It’s such a prevalent myth, you can probably find plenty of people to argue both sides of it even today. That’s the temperature control fallacy, and it’s one that costs homeowners dear in wasted energy and higher utility bills.
Legend has it, setting the thermostat and leaving it alone is the quickest route to energy savings. Too bad it’s not true. Class 5 Energy explains that strategically raising and lowering the thermostat at certain times of day conserves natural resources and your financial ones, too. Try out one of the smart thermostats that adjusts based on how you live, or buy a basic programmable one that lets you decide the best temperature for different times of the day.
#2: Buying a Too-Large Appliance
Is bigger always better? You might think so, but that’s not how HVAC systems work. It’s a logical mistake. If one appliance is good at heating and cooling your home, step up to the next level should be better. But it’s not, and here’s why.
An HVAC system that’s too large for the home works much harder to heat and cool. When the unit cycles on, a blast of hot or cold air fills the space. That triggers the thermostat shut off too soon, which makes your home grow too cold or warm again, which causes it to cycle back on. This is short cycling. In summer, a too-large system doesn’t stay on long enough in one cycle to eliminate humidity, so you’ll feel sticky indoors even when cool.
#3: Neglecting to Change the Air Filter
How easy is it to swap out a dirty air filter for a clean one? It takes about a minute, maybe two. And filters are super cheap, especially when compared with HVAC repairs or replacement. The problem isn’t that a dirty filter means dirty air, although that can be true. The real problem is the strain that a dirty filter puts on the system.
Filters are designed to let air pass through. That’s how your HVAC system breathes. When the filter is clogged up with dust and household debris, the system can’t breathe like it should. That makes it less efficient, and it also makes the unit strain to perform. Check the filter about once every 30 days and change it if it’s dirty.
#4: DIY Zoned Heating and Cooling
True zoned heating and cooling can be a lifesaver for homeowners who want to conserve energy. Instead of heating and cooling the whole house, you can condition the air in only the rooms that you use most. Zoning also lets you reduce heating and cooling airflow in rooms where you have hot or cold spots. It can help you get a more even temperature.
Enter the DIY zoning method. Closing off registers and shutting doors might seem like a simple way to control which parts of your home that you heat and cool. But in reality, closed vents prevent your system from breathing like it’s designed to and it also stops air circulation. Instead of closing doors and blocking vents, ask your HVAC technician about dampers in your ductwork. They do the job that DIY zoning tries to do, but they do it the right way.
Have you grown afraid of your mailbox because of high energy bills? Is your home less comfortable than you want it to be? Has your HVAC system started racking up repair bills? Any of these problems could be a sign that you’ve made a mistake along the way.
At Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we know the signs of good intentions gone wrong. Set up an appointment online today and we’ll investigate the situation to find out where the real problem lies.