Did you realize that nearly half the energy used at home is consumed by your heating and air conditioning system? Now imagine how hard your system is working to keep you comfortable if the coils or air ducts are dirty.
Properly maintaining your heating and air conditioning system with routine maintenance can increase efficiency while decreasing your energy bills. There are many ways to “go green” at home, but one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways is with a tune-up. After you’ve taken the appropriate steps by having a tune-up, once in the spring and once in the fall, you can take additional steps to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly home with a few energy saving solutions.
Follow these suggestions from HVAC Expertise Central Valley to create a more “green”, energy efficient home:
- Install a programmable thermostat that adjusts the temperature when home or away. Why keep your house cool/warm when nobody is home?
- Use high efficiency air filters to help your air conditioning system stay clean longer.
- Plant trees or shrubs to shade the air conditioning unit, but not so close that they block air flow.
- Have your professional air conditioning provider clean your units coils regularly – about every six months – to prevent dirt and dust build-up.
- Check the attic, crawl space or basement to make sure it’s properly insulated.
- If installing a new unit, look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) number on air conditioners. Some units manufactured about 10 years ago were in the 10 SEER range while many units today are in the 20 SEER range. Going from a 10 to 20 SEER will cut your cooling costs in half.
- If installing a new HVAC unit, consider donation or recycling. A unit in working order can be donated and non-functioning pieces can be picked-up by your municipal solid waste agency or Steel Recycling Institute. Go to recycle-steel.org or visit earth911.org for more local options.
In an effort to encourage sustainable products, another change you need to be aware of is the phase out of R-22, the refrigerant most commonly used in today’s heating and cooling units. Beginning January 2010, all new units will be required to use “environmentally sound” refrigerant, such as R-410A. The phase out has been mandated by the government in an effort to help protect the Earth’s ozone layer.
By switching to the more economically and environmentally friendly R-410A, you can also protect yourself from the potentially higher costs of servicing an air conditioner or heating unit that uses R-22.