Getting ready to braving the Texas summer heat can easily become an expensive undertaking, which is why DIY home improvements that help reduce cooling bills make sense. The following are plenty of ways you can improve your HVAC system’s overall performance while simultaneously lowering your system’s energy usage.
Change the Air Filter
HVAC air filters inevitably get dirty. When they do, they create an ever-growing barrier for airflow, making it much harder for the blower fan to pull air into the HVAC system. This adds a tremendous amount of strain on the blower fan and other parts of the heating and cooling system, potentially taking years off of its projected life span while reducing overall indoor air quality.
Change or clean the air filter on a monthly basis to preserve your system’s performance and efficiency. Don’t forget to use the correct air filter with the proper MERV rating for your system.
Keep the Outdoor Cabinet Clean
Leaves, twigs and other vegetation can accumulate around the bottom of your HVAC system’s outdoor cabinet. Since the unit relies on airflow gathered from the bottom up, a resultant blockage can easily cause your system to work less efficiently or even frost over, in some cases.
Keeping your system in top shape is as simple as clearing the vegetation and debris from around the cabinet.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Chances are your old thermostat lacks many of the features that make a programmable thermostat such an appealing upgrade for precise climate control. A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically set your HVAC system to provide energy efficient heating and cooling without sacrificing comfort.
You can set up a programmable thermostat for maximum energy efficiency during the day and for maximum comfort during the evening. For instance, you can program your thermostat to automatically raise cooling temperatures by six to 10 degrees while you’re at work or away on vacation, saving you as much as 20 percent on your next energy bill. When set correctly, it’ll lower cooling temperatures automatically when you return.
It doesn't take much to install a programmable thermostat. Most models come with detailed instructions that make this and other DIY home improvements a snap to complete.
Seal Duct Leaks
As much as a whopping 40 percent of cooling costs are lost due to conditioned air escaping through cracks and gaps throughout the duct system. If you’ve noticed a reduction in cooling efficiency, you might want to give your ducts a thorough once-over.
Grab a roll of metal tape or a can of mastic sealant and inspect as much of your home’s ductwork as you can. After sealing all of the leaks, consider insulating your ducts to prevent energy loss through your basement, attic and other unconditioned spaces.
Keep in mind that a professional should be on hand before and after the sealing to track improvements and make sure the system works as it should.
Block Window Heat
Did you know that your windows are a major source of unwanted heat? Approximately 30 percent of the unwanted heat in your home comes through south- and west-facing windows, where sunlight is most likely to shine through. This unwanted heat makes extra, unnecessary work for your HVAC system.
Fortunately, you can nip this problem in the bud by installing tinted window film, high-quality window shades or insulating curtains. Each of these DIY home improvements has their own set of benefits and drawbacks:
- Low-E window films are the cheapest option, but it takes patience to correctly install and the results can bubble as years pass.
- Shades are the easiest to install, plus they’re relatively affordable.
- Insulating curtains are the most expensive to purchase, plus care has to be taken to properly match the surrounding decor.
Sometimes, It Takes Much More to See Improvements
As much as the above steps are great for improving your current HVAC system’s efficiency and performance, sometimes there's only so much you can do. This is especially true if your HVAC system happens to be more than 10 years old. If it's been over a decade since you last installed your HVAC system, it's time to consider a replacement. This particular task isn’t something you can do yourself, but it’ll definitely benefit your home by leaps and bounds.
Learn more about the HVAC services at JD's A/C offers, or contact us today at 903-374-4012 to schedule an appointment!