If it seems like your energy bill keeps rising every year, it might have something to do with your heating and cooling expenses. While it can be easy to set the thermostat and then forget about your HVAC system, there might be some mistakes you’re making that are creating higher energy costs than you realize.
These are 6 of the most common HVAC system mistakes that our technicians see homeowners make.
1. Letting the Air Filter Get Too Dirty
Overly dirty air filters are one of the leading causes of HVAC system issues. When the air filter is functioning correctly, it does two things:
It keeps dust and other airborne particulars from getting sucked into your HVAC equipment through your home’s return vent(s).
It allows an adequate amount of air to flow into the equipment to keep it running efficiently.
When the air filter becomes clogged with dust, it’s going to prevent an adequate amount of air from entering your HVAC system. This can cause the equipment to run less efficiently, stop producing cool air, overheat, and even break down.
2. Blocking Air Vents
This may seem like a no-brainer, but technicians see this issue frequently. If you feel like your heating and cooling system is not doing its job well, check each room and hallway in your home to make sure that no wall, floor, or ceiling vents are being blocked by anything. You might just find a vent hidden behind a couch or under an area rug.
3. Closing Air Vents to Control Temperature
Never close the air vents to control the temperature in particular rooms or areas of your home. Doing this creates a pressure imbalance in your HVAC system that can cause leaks or worsen existing leaks in your ductwork. This will make your system operate less efficiently, which will result in higher energy bills and increased wear and tear on your HVAC equipment.
4. Crowding the Outdoor Unit (Condenser)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s safe to say that most people don’t find their AC’s outdoor unit particularly attractive. To make it less of an eyesore, some people plant bushes or shrubs or put up a fence around it. This creates a problem when the bushes or fence are set up too close to the unit.
The unit needs adequate breathing room to run efficiently. Plus, if a technician ever needs to service or repair the equipment, they will need some room to maneuver. To allow proper ventilation, give your air conditioner at least 2 feet of space on all sides and at least 6 feet of space overhead.
5. Neglecting Routine Maintenance
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.” Essentially, the more you put off maintenance, the more it will cost you to use your HVAC system. Also, because a poorly maintained system has to work harder to perform, it’s going to wear out faster and be more susceptible to breakdowns during periods of high usage, such as midwinter or midsummer.
6. Not Helping the AC During Heat Waves
It's always smart to help out your air conditioner during extended periods of extreme heat. You can help keep your AC from carrying all of the weight by using floor and ceiling fans, closing window treatments, and refraining from using heat-producing appliances (like stoves, washing machines, and dishwashers) until later in the evening.
If you’re in need of AC services in Decatur, our technicians at Jackson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling are ready to help! Give us a call at (256) 304-8883, or contact us online.