Reducing HVAC System Energy Costs
HVAC System Energy Efficiency: A New Year’s Energy Resolution
The beginning of a new year is often considered a time for reflection and a determined resolve to make changes. Since 2021 has brought the rise in energy cost–6% for electricity and 26% natural gas1 —perhaps this is time to consider an “energy diet” for the whole house. To celebrate, National Cut Your Energy Cost Day on January 10th, let’s take a look at how we can reduce HVAC System Energy Costs.
Many variables contribute to the annual energy bill for your home, so we will look at the top categories of energy use in an average home and recommend steps to save energy under each group.
Heating and Cooling Your Home
The lion-share of energy use makes your home comfortable and safe; heating, ventilation, and HVAC system accounts for approximately 55% of your utility bills. Starting here makes sense:
- Your HVAC system works hard year-round and like any mechanical system, it needs maintenance. Scheduling a regular, annual maintenance call will ensure your system works at maximum efficiency. Make sure you change the air filter regularly, at least every three months.
- Ceiling fans will not change the air temperature, but the circulating air feels warmer or cooler to occupants. This can allow you to raise or lower the temperature accordingly.
- Open/close curtains, blinds, and even windows to help regulate the temperature naturally.
The second-largest energy draw (approximately 20%) comes from heating water for bathing and cleaning around the house. Here are some suggestions to reduce the costs needed for hot water.
- Showers take less water than baths, so take showers. Water-conserving shower heads increase the pressure and restrict the amount of water; consider a new shower head.
- Reduce the water temperature setting on your hot water heater to 1200 F, but no lower. The factory setting is generally 1400 F, which can scald bathers.
- Insulate hot water pipes in unconditioned spaces, such as attics and crawlspaces.
- Turn your hot water heater off while away on vacation.
Appliances account for about 15% of the energy used in a home.
- Run full loads of laundry. Washing laundry in hot water uses 90% more energy than using cold water; use hot water only when necessary. Run loads during the coolest part of the day for comfort and energy savings. Clean filters regularly. Air dry clothes whenever possible.
- Store the most used items near the front of refrigerators and freezers, reducing the time the door is open. Clean dust and debris from the coolant coils, usually located underneath and on the backside of the appliance.
- Cook with smaller appliances when possible and avoid turning on the oven. Cook during cooler hours when possible and avoid preheating the oven.
- Run full loads in the dishwasher in the cooler hours of the day. Turn off the heat dry setting and let the air dry the dishes.
Lighting accounts for approximately 4% of your energy costs, but there are a few things that you can do to reduce energy in this category.
- Turn lights off when you leave a room.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with LED options. They use 80% less energy.
- Install motion detectors on outdoor security lights.
- Open windows and curtains to use natural light as much as possible.
Devices, such as computers and television use about 4% of the total energy in a home.
- Most TVs and computers use standby energy to shorten the time it takes to “come up.” Save some energy and disconnect these devices.
- The same is true for chargers, including phone chargers. If left plugged in while not in use, they waste small amounts of energy while idle.
Questions About Reducing HVAC System Energy Costs?