How to Reduce HVAC Energy Consumption at Home and Cut Your Power Bill

Heating and cooling account for more than 50% of home energy consumption. If you are paying a lot in the name of energy bills, your HVAC system is most likely the primary cause. It is vital to cut down on the energy consumption of utilities to save money (and energy). Energy companies such as American Power and Gas, suggest consumers and homeowners pay special attention to their HVAC system. as heating and cooling cost make up about 40% of your energy bills.

It may also be wise to consider switching to a system that operates on solar or other forms of renewable energy––Providing if it can be afforded.

Here are some ways you can reduce HVAC energy consumption:

Programmable Thermostat to The Rescue

HVAC units can be made to consume less energy with the help of programmable thermostats.

The DOE recommends reducing room temperature to 15 degrees in winters when you are not home for 8-10 hours. Similarly, they suggest increasing the temperature by around 15 degrees in summers when you are not going to be home for half the day. This will help you save about 15% more energy annually.

The benefit that programmable thermostat gives you is that you won’t have to manually adjust the temperature every day. You can simply program it to change the temperature and save energy. It also has the added plus of operating on a timer so you don’t have to worry about leaving it on throughout the day.

Maintain The Coils Of Your AC Unit

The outdoor unit of the AC can allow dirt and debris to pass through it and gather around the coils and reduce the efficiency of the AC, as a result the unit consumes more energy to keep the room cool.

Keep your outdoor unit clean from dirt, fallen leaves, and other debris to make it work perfectly. If you believe that your outdoor unit needs cleaning, shut it off and use a vacuum to pull out all the dirt.

Inspect Air Filters 

Air filters need special attention as they can get blocked due to dirt and debris. They need to be replaced every season as damaged filters put extra pressure on the unit causing energy to be wasted.

Other than this, you should also replace the filters every now and then. This is not a very tough job and you can do it on your own.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Remove the filter and check for debris stuck in the filters.
  • Keep the filters under light to see if it’s able to pass through. If it doesn’t then you will have to wash the filters.
  • Clean the filters with a toothbrush, or another such tool first.
  • Put the filters in soapy water for a few hours, dry and see if the light passes again. If it does then you can re-apply those, otherwise, you may have to change the air filters.

The average life expectancy of air filters is about 2 to 3 months if they aren’t maintained. Otherwise, they can easily run for a year.

Out With The Old, In With The New

HVAC systems can be costly but if you have been using one for more than 10 years now then it’s time to replace it with a modern and an energy efficient HVAC system.

AC Coils of HVAC systems require regular cleanup

A Clean Way to Cool Down

You can also consult with your energy provider regarding making the switch to renewable energy services. You can also look into energy storage systems such as Tesla’s solar panels that can drastically cut your power bill and provide clean sustainable energy for your home.

The Verdict

Around 48% of US home energy consumption is directly attributable to HVAC use and heating or cooling. These are some of the most efficient ways which you can reduce the amount of energy consumed by your HVAC system.

12 Ways Small Businesses Can Save Energy

Saving money is important for businesses and saving energy is important for all of us – so here is the perfect mix of both and some great tips for small businesses to save on energy.

  1. Get A Free Energy Audit

A full energy audit helps identify issues that might be causing energy wastage – these include insulation issues and air leaks. Most electricity utility companies offer these audits free of charge. The inspection not only helps you determine how energy is used but also ways to address energy wastage.  The audit report will also recommend ways to keep your energy usage on the low, such as investing in energy efficient lighting and equipment.

Inquire with Josco Energy Corporation about a free audit.

  1. Invest in Energy-Efficient Office Equipment

Energy efficient (energy-star rated) appliances use up less energy as compared to older non-rated ones. That said, it would be advisable for you to lease/buy energy star rated office electronics.  This should help see your energy bills drop significantly, hence substantial cost savings in the long run.

  1. Avoid Peak Demand

Peak demand can be defined as the time of the day when there’s a high demand for energy. These are the hours when energy usage is the highest. The typical peak hours start from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Reducing your demand for electricity during these times and only running the factory and heavy equipment early in the morning, and later in the evening can help reduce energy consumption. Reducing your demand for energy during peak hours also means the business spends less on energy usage at the end of the day.

  1. Use Programmable Thermostats

Smart thermostats make it easy to monitor and control temperatures in the workplace when everyone is in the office (9 – 5), and away. The thermostat can be programmed to turn OFF the heating and cooling appliances during the night, and back ON a few minutes to ‘work hours’. This in return sees you save lots of energy that would have otherwise been wasted had the HVAC systems remained on through the night.

  1. Switch Off Lights in Unused Areas

Most offices have an always-on lights setup. This means the lights in all rooms including bathrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, and even unused corridors. This leads to energy wastage which can be preserved if lights were only turned on when needed. Installing sensors to turn the lights on or off when required could help too.

  1. Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs use up more energy for the same amount of light when compared to CFLs and LEDs that use just a fraction of it. Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFL or LEDs should help the company use less energy in lighting. This is the simplest and easiest ways to save energy in the workplace.

  1. Make Use of Natural Light

Always take advantage of the natural sunlight whenever you can. You can do so by drawing the blinds, curtains, and opening the windows to allow the sunlight in. Be sure to switch off lights in well-lit areas well. Letting the sunlight in also means you get passive heating from the sun, hence no need to have the heaters on. While it may seem like nothing, taking advantage of the natural sunlight should help save the business a few kilowatt hours a day.

  1. Run Fans

Have fans installed in showrooms, warehouses, kitchens, and offices alike. The fans will help keep the air moving, hence facilitate optimal air circulation. This means the HVAC system will run more efficiently and smoothly translating to lower energy consumption.

  1. Power Down Computers and Other Office Equipment When Not in Use

Having everyone power down their computers at the end of the day should help save lots of energy. You might also want to set the laptops to go to sleep or hibernate if not used for a certain number of minutes or hours. Be sure to turn off and unplug other electronic devices from the mains sockets.

Although modern toasters, coffee makers, printers, and other office appliances have a ‘sleep’ mode when not in use, these continue to draw some current if left plugged. Unplugging these will save some more kilowatts. 

  1. Avoid ‘Phantom’ Energy

As mentioned earlier, some equipment will continue to draw electricity when plugged in.  That said, making it a habit of unplugging such devices or using a power strip on them, can help save some energy. With a power strip, a simple flip of the switch will cut electricity supply to the connected devices. 

  1. Make Adjustments to the Surrounding Landscape

If you have control over the landscape around, you can then use it to your advantage. Energy-efficient landscaping, such as planting trees strategically to block winds and provide shelter, will go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs.

  1. Involve the Employees

Encouraging the employees to take on energy-efficiency practices can help reduce electricity costs and energy wastage too. Train the employees to turn off their computers after work, switch off lights, as well as use energy efficient appliances in the workplace.  Inspiring them to save more energy should work well for the company. You can see more tips and tricks on how to improve employee energy-saving practices here.