Insurance and Finance

HVAC the Green: Energy- and Money-Saving Tips

By Brian Kendall 1.31.17

Between freezing winters and those sweltering summer months our state is oh so famous for, you’ve likely got that HVAC unit working overtime. While this keeps us cozy, it can put a real dent in our billfolds. To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your HVAC system, be sure to use these home energy-saving tips.

Regularly change air filters

Yes, those lighter-than-air blue or white rectangles need to be replaced regularly. This greatly improves air quality and keeps your HVAC system clean, which allows it to work more efficiently. Manufacturers say to change them bimonthly, which is good advice to follow, but this can be difficult to remember. Just set a reminder on your phone or mark your calendar, as you would a doctor’s appointment or birthday, every other month (depending on your home) to remind you.

Schedule preventive maintenance

Just like getting the oil changed in your car or an annual physical from your doctor, your HVAC system requires consistent maintenance to ensure it’s working at its most efficient status. While many HVAC dealers provide annual maintenance, it’s recommended your HVAC system receive biannual maintenance to ensure longevity and maximize efficiency.

Use a programmable thermostat

Did you know you can save up to 15 percent on your heating bill just by properly using a piece of technology you probably already have? Utilizing the scheduling feature of your programmable thermostat can help your home A/C system run more efficiently. For instance, you should program your heat or A/C to shut down 20 to 30 minutes before leaving home each day and to turn on 20 to 30 minutes before coming home. Also, if you have a large house, you should look into acquiring a programmable thermostat with a zoning system that controls different rooms or “zones” of your home.

Perform draft tests with a candle

Talk about inefficient; if you have a draft that’s allowing air to leak from either a door or window, this means the hot air coming from your heater is escaping your home. This requires your air system to work overtime. To see if your window has a leak, close it as tightly as possible and hold a lit candle near its seams. Move the candle along the window and see if the flame bends or flickers. If it does, you have a draft. This is often caused by old caulk that needs to be replaced. Simply remove the old caulk with caulk remover, clean the surface, and seal your window with fresh caulk.

Keep all vents open

While you might be tempted to close vents in unused rooms, this is not an efficient way to run your HVAC system. This increases the air pressure in your ducts, which can lead to duct leakage, lower airflow, and increased energy use (which means higher utility costs — yikes!). To guard against this, simply take a tour of your own house to ensure all of your vents are in the open position.

At the end of the day, your HVAC system has a tough life by virtue of the fact you’re livin’ in Texas. But if you follow the above tips, it’ll keep your home comfortable and bank account mighty happy.

Just like your HVAC system, your insurance policy needs maintenance from time to time. Contact your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent today to schedule a 360 Review and find the right coverage for your needs.