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Saving Energy and Money with Maximum HVAC Efficiency

Did you know that almost half the energy used in your home goes toward keeping your family comfortable? Heating and cooling a home can be very expensive, especially in the more extreme areas in the U.S. where seasonal weather is especially harsh. While Illinois summers are considered hot but endurable, our winters can be absolutely brutal. So giving your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system a thorough evaluation can go a long way in saving energy and lowering your utility bills.

At Cassel, we have over 100 years of combined heating and cooling experience, which has given us keen insight into energy efficiency procedures. While it’s been a few years since Des Moines has experienced a summer in the triple digits, odds are good that we will hover uncomfortably close to that number this year. To keep your utilities from getting out of hand this season (and for the rest of the year), take these simple steps to ensure that your HVAC runs at maximum efficiency.

Change the HVAC Filter

This is one of the easiest steps you can take to keep your system running at capacity. During the seasons of heavy usage, when your central air is running every day, make sure that you change the filter every month. When your HVAC is constantly running, the filter is working overtime to catch the dirt, dust and airborne contaminants. A dirty filter can slow down your system’s air flow, making it work harder and using more energy than necessary. Make sure that your filter has a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating that works best for your HVAC. The Department of Energy suggests a minimum of MERV 13 for residential use. Any rating between 11 – 16 should be fine for most systems.

Annual HVAC Maintenance

An annual tune-up will help your HVAC system run smoothly for years to come. Once in the spring for you’re A/C and once in the fall for your furnace. Preventative maintenance can provide increased efficiency, better comfort control, and fewer repairs. Keeping your HVAC professionally maintained will also help extend the life of the system.

HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Installing a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can more closely monitor the temperature throughout your home and save you about $180 a year on utilities. Some high tech designs can “remember” what temperature you want your home to be throughout the day. This ensures that your HVAC only runs when needed and that your home is always a comfortable temperature. There are also thermostats that can be set through a computer or phone app, allowing you to control your home’s temperature from work or on extended trips.

More on the Benefits of a Programmable Thermostat

Install an Energy-Efficient HVAC

Is your HVAC system 10 years or older? Is it running efficiently? You might consider upgrading to an new system that is supported by Energy Star. Replacing your old unit with an Energy Star qualified model can cut your annual utility bill by $115 depending on where you live. Make sure that you have a qualified HVAC technician perform a complete assessment on your system before investing in a new one. There can be many reasons a forced air system is running inefficiently, including leaky ducts (see the next tip).

Reasons for Replacing an HVAC System

Seal Leaky Ductwork

Leaky or damaged ductwork can cause several problems for your HVAC system, some of them can be very costly. Leaks can raise your monthly utility bill, clog air filters, compromise your AIQ and damage your HVAC. There are several ways to deal with leaks, some of them are easy DIY solutions if the problem is confined to exposed ductwork. Professional sealant in various forms is available at the local hardware store for those who want to take on a project. But if your ducts have severe leaks in multiple areas, it’s best to call a professional to have them sealed.

More on Sealing Ducts

Clean Dirty Ductwork

Is dust coating the grill on the return air registers? If you notice a large accumulation of dust or debris on the registers, you might benefit from professional duct cleaning. In addition to poor indoor air quality, dirty ductwork/registers can prohibit air flow and make your HAVC work harder than necessary. This can create a multitude of problems for your system and shorten the lifespan. Cleaning the ducts will ensure better air quality and help your HVAC system run at maximum efficiency (using less energy and keeping utilities low).

Keeping your HAVC system running smoothly should be a high priority when considering home energy efficiency. When your unit and components are clean and performing at capacity, you will be able to keep your cooling and heating costs down. And remember that at Cassel Home Comfort, we specialize in HVAC maintenance and duct cleaning. Call us today at (217) 866-1596 when you are ready to explore options on maintaining your home comfort system.

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