For countless homeowners, finding ways to minimize utility costs and reduce electric bills can be of paramount importance. Efforts like identifying optimal temperature and thermostat settings for each season and even different times of day can make quite a difference. Operating climate-control systems more efficiently by ensuring that all HVAC appliances and components are kept in good working order can lower household costs without forcing homeowners to sacrifice their comfort. The following guide should provide homeowners with a number of ways to lower their heating and cooling costs.
Temperatures that are too aggressive place greater demand on equipment, require more power, and may even impair the performance and output of climate-control systems. Identifying the optimal temperature range for the system and trying to ensure that temperatures do not become so extreme that undue stress is placed on appliances and equipment may significantly reduce operational costs. Seasonal differences, exposure to direct sunlight, and lower nighttime temperatures are all factors which need to be considered when determining the most efficient range of thermostat settings.
While adjusting temperature settings during off-hours can save money, allowing temperatures within the home to stray too far from the ideal range can create problems. Forcing the system to use more power in order to effectively heat or cool an interior environment rapidly can eliminate the potential savings offered by leaving the system off or relaxing temperature settings throughout the day. Climate-control systems are the most energy efficient when they are consistently maintaining a medium temperature. Constant and moderate use of the system is more cost effective than crash heating or rapid cooling it from extremely hot or cold temperatures at too rapid of a pace.
Knowing which times of day to make use of HVAC equipment can greatly enhance efficiency. While the difference in electricity costs during peak and off-peak hours will vary from one supplier to the next, knowing the best times of day to operate a climate-control system is not a matter that should be left to chance. Adjusting thermostats, regulating operation and placing greater demand on the system before or after peak hours can help to keep costs from getting out of hand. Peak hours vary based on climate and geographical location, so do your research to determine what hours to avoid and which to use your system during.
Operating larger appliances like a central AC unit or furnace in order to heat or cool the entire home is rarely the most economical option. Using fans to improve air circulation or making use of space heaters on window-mounted AC units can help lower electricity bills. Small home appliances that can provide room and area-specific temperature control will help to alleviate the need to use larger and more costly equipment.
Outdated equipment and appliances that have not been properly maintained could end up being a very costly liability. Preventative maintenance and routine service of all HVAC equipment and components ensures that homeowners are able to identify and address any issues which might otherwise impair operation. For homeowners who are serious about lowering their monthly bills, upgrading to a more efficient system or replacing antiquated components with newer-model devices designed with superior efficiency and performance in mind is often well worth the purchase and installation costs. From a blown compressor to a faulty thermostat, even the most seemingly minor maintenance issues could make owners unable to reduce their utility costs, no matter how much they fine-tune their temperature settings.
Learning more about climate control systems and HVAC appliances helps to ensure that property owners are able to navigate their equipment options and make effective decisions with greater ease. Understanding basic information can often go a long way, especially for those who have little experience with their newest piece of equipment or technology. Home and property owners would do well to learn the basic differences between various climate-control equipment, home appliances, and heating and cooling systems.
The furnace is the most essential component of any heating system. While these appliances may be powered by either gas or electricity, they operate using the same basic principles. Furnaces generate heat which is then circulated throughout the home through a series of ducts and vents.
Space heaters are very similar to furnaces but operate on a much smaller scale. These devices are ideal for providing room and area-specific heating and may either work together with a larger furnace to produce a greater output or individually. While gas-powered radiators serve the same function and do exist, the added cost of installing gas-delivery pipes has made them a less economical option than their space heating counterpart in recent years.
Air conditioners function using a substance known as refrigerant which is compressed and circulated throughout the system in order to transfer and ultimately remove unwanted heat from the environment. It does so by using a series of coils and cooling fins. Central AC units are large enough to cool the entire home and several core components of its system, such as the compressor, fan and condenser coils, are typically located in a self-contained unit which is installed outside of the home.
Portable stand-alone and window-mounted AC units are very similar to space heaters in range, but their purpose is to cool the environment rather than provide a source of warmth. Ideal for smaller homes as well as specific rooms and areas where a larger AC system may be unable to fit or cool effectively, these units need to be installed in a window or attached to a vent in order to ventilate heat safely outside the home.
While full-featured climate-control systems utilize both an air conditioning unit for cooling as well as a separate furnace or heater, such systems often utilize the same peripheral components. The ducts and fans that are used to circulate air throughout the home are used by both heating and cooling systems. Other components, such as air filtration systems which can eliminate debris and foreign particles that may be circulating within the system or throughout the home, may also be incorporated into a climate control system.
Equipment that is outdated, inadequate for the needs of the household, or that may have begun to suffer from a variety of mechanical issues can make it all but impossible to maintain an ideal temperature. Possessing a better base-level understanding of your HVAC components, home appliances, and climate-control equipment ensures that you will be able to seek out and select the best options for your building’s needs when the time comes. From more dependable system performance to finding equipment and appliances that are able to provide more efficient home heating and cooling, understanding the difference between heating and cooling systems is a concern that no home or property owner can afford to ignore.
Replacing or upgrading a central AC unit, whether it be a window-mount or portable AC, can be an important undertaking. Knowing enough to choose the right size and type of unit, as well as being familiar with key equipment features, helps to ensure that smarter decisions can be made. From learning a little basic terminology to finding equipment options that are able to produce superior performance while reducing energy usage, a little education can often make a huge difference.
There are a number of industry terms which can often leave prospective owners feeling lost or confused. Possessing the right vocabulary is often the first step towards finding the unit, system or equipment option that offers the best value. Here are some of the most common terms:
There are different AC systems that have been designed meet a variety of needs. AC units will typically fall into one of the following categories:
Current generation AC units can offer a wide range of features. Energy efficient systems offer comparable performance to older model systems for a fraction of the operational cost. Units that have been designed for quiet operation or those that offer superior filtration for enhanced air quality may also be worth considering. With so many options and choices available, prospective owners would do well to consult with a professional before investing in a new system or unit.