hvas pros share how to be more energy efficient

HVAC Pros Weigh In: How to Improve Your Energy Efficiency

By the time summer hits, you may be increasing how much you watch your energy usage. When you’re able to conserve energy, you can potentially save on utility bills—plus it’s great for the environment. 

No matter your motivation to be more energy efficient in the coming months, here are more than 8 tips straight from the Greater Comfort HVAC team to help you improve your energy efficiency:

1. Before anything, find Where You Can Easily Reduce Your Overall Energy Consumption

Aim to start watching how much energy you use on a daily basis. This can include turning off appliances and lights when they are no longer in use, and turning off other items such as phone chargers when not in use.

Consider using your energy-intensive appliances less often. That might mean more manual work, but the trade-off can mean less energy is being used.

For example, instead of placing clothes in the dryer, you could hang them to air dry. Or, you could hand wash dishes rather than placing them in the dishwasher.

2. Use a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can be set to automatically turn off or change the  temperature while you sleep, or when you are away from your home or building. Since you don’t have to remind yourself or others to change the thermostat, it’ll save you hundreds without you having to do much work. That’s a win!

Just think: if you set your thermostat about 1 to 2 degrees higher than the normal temperature you keep it at (say while you are at home, or in the office) during the summer, you can see up to 3 percent savings (sometimes less) on your energy bill.

For sake of example, if your bill was normally $100, that’s going to be $3 per bill, but you may not even realize the difference in comfort, and you may not even be home. Or, you could be sleeping and truly not feel the difference, but still see the savings!

If you want to see even more savings, consider the difference 10 degrees might make. If you were to be gone from the home for about 8 hours and turned the temperatures way down during that time, you could save as much as $10—or more…in other words as much as 10 percent of your bill could be saved, plus you are just being more energy efficient.

You can see how minor changes, that you can set automatically and never even have to think about, can really add up. That’s the value of a programmable thermostat.

3. Insulate, insulate, insulate

Insulation plays a key role for keeping heat out during the hot summer months, and that translates to energy savings.

After all, proper ventilation and insulation design and setup will regulate humidity and fights back against improper air flow and air pollutants, in general, so that bacteria can’t thrive and so that humidity in your building stays at a safe level.

Think of it this way: making these changes can reduce the amount of indoor air pollutants you have, which translates to greater air quality, and it means your system doesn’t have to work as hard.

Of course, the level of heat resistance or level of insulation needed is dependent upon where you are located. Ask us if you have more questions about insulation specific to your home or building.

4. Replace Your Light bulbs

Typical incandescent light bulbs use a lot of energy. Plus, they will need to be replaced more often compared with energy-efficient alternatives, so don’t neglect the research before you buy light bulbs the next time you need them. Although energy-efficient bulbs are more expensive at first glance (in the store, that is), they’ll pay off in the long-run because they are much more energy efficient. That means you might pay more up-front, but in the long-run, you save—big.

5. Use Smart Power Strips

Advanced power strips eliminate the problem of electronics in standby mode by shutting them off when they are not in use. Smart power strips can be set to turn off a device at a specified time or during  periods of inactivity, too.

6. Weatherize Your Home Or Building

Those pesky air leaks around your home or building are more costly than you may think. Sealing them is a great way to reduce your heating expenses during those harsh winter months, and cooling during summer. Other tips we’ve described here might be all you need, but you might find other ways you should weatherize your building.

The most common spaces where air leaks occur are windows, vents, and doors (1). In order to prevent these leaks, you should ensure that there are no cracks or openings between the wall and vent, window, or doorframe.

Found a leak you need to seal? Not a problem! Just head to your local home improvement store and grab some caulk. For cracks between moving objects, such as windows and doors, you can apply weather stripping (1). Weather stripping and caulking are simple air sealing techniques that can typically offer you a return on your time and investment in less than a year (1). 

7. Upgrade Your HVAC System

Need an upgraded HVAC system? Fear not! Greater Comfort has you covered, though we’ll never pressure you to upgrade.

If you ask us, we can help you determine how much operational life is left in your system so that you can make the wisest choice possible based on any repairs needed versus the cost of an upgrade.

Even if you don’t ask for any assistance, your aim can be to gather information that can tell you more about the working condition of your HVAC unit—and from there, you can prioritize and (hopefully) start to set aside funds for a replacement or upgrade, based on that kind of projected timeline or schedule, if you aren’t already planning for it. You want to be sure you are crystal clear on the total upgrade and/or construction-related costs, but also the details that impact that number. Again, we’re here to help!

8. Automate controls

For building owners and facility managers, the beauty of automation is well…you get the comfort, and you get the savings. You can automatically control run-time, output, and even speed of your fans, chillers, and compressor motors, so take advantage where you can. In certain buildings were tenants leave at predictable times, you can save huge on your electrical bills but you can still maintain comfort when tenants are there. Plus, you don’t have to rely on them to change the settings (2).

9. Continue to Maintain Your HVAC Properly

One of the biggest investments your property has—that is, your heating and cooling system—has to be maintained. If not, you’re doing yourself a disservice because it won’t be running as efficiently as possible. In your quest to be more energy efficient, HVAC maintenance is critical!

First, on your end, you want to be changing out your air filters regularly. That’s a non-negotiable! Second, you can set up regular, ongoing preventative maintenance with Greater Comfort so your system is properly maintained. When looking for a company to work with for maintenance, you want a company that has proper licensing, certifications, bonding and insurance that fits local requirements, and fully trained and experienced staff—at minimum.

You also want to select a HVAC contractor that has experienced, qualified techs who know how to install heating and cooling systems and properly maintain a wide variety of commercial heating and cooling systems.

Anyone who ever works on your system should be held to the same high standard, so don’t be afraid to ask for reviews, recommendations, or references.

Part of the value in signing up for a preventative maintenance agreement is also the fact that you know it is going to happen when it needs to happen…and that means your system will work as efficiently as possible, year-round.

Stay Energy Efficient & Turn to Greater Comfort for Your HVAC Needs

Greater Comfort is here to help you be more energy efficient. We’re your go-to resource for dependable HVAC services, support, and regular maintenance. From install to repair—and from maintenance to innovative solutions—we’re here to help you with all your commercial heating and cooling needs. Contact us today or call 859-491-4915.

Sources:

  1. https://www.energysage.com/energy-efficiency/101/ways-to-save-energy/
  2. https://www.grainger.com/know-how/industry/commercial/kh-eight-ways-to-conserve-energy-by-improving-hvac-efficiency
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