We can all benefit from saving money where we can. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is by identifying energy inefficiencies in your home. Upgrading your HVAC system or putting in a smart thermostat, for example, offers more control over your HVAC equipment, resulting in a more energy-efficient home and lower monthly energy bills.  

Read on to learn about 4 ways you can make energy-efficient home improvements. 

 1. Install Smart Home Products Like a Smart Thermostat  

If you still use an older thermostat and adjust it manually, try taking a step toward the future by installing a smart, or Wi-Fi, thermostat – which comes with numerous features to improve your home's energy efficiency. 

The feature homeowners like the most is being able to adjust their smart thermostats from anywhere they want with their smartphone or other smart device. For example, when you forget to change your thermostat before taking a vacation, you can just pull out your smartphone and make any needed adjustments.  

Like a programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat enables you to schedule your home’s temperature according to the time of day and day of the week so you’re not heating or cooling an empty house. Smart thermostats also offer the capacity to learn your temperature preferences over time and automatically make energy-efficient adjustments. They can even provide monthly energy reports that show how much energy you’re using and when so you can make adjustments to cut costs.  

If you’re curious about how to secure a free smart thermostat, ask your utility company to find out if there are any discounts or free smart thermostats available to you. 

2. Routine HVAC Maintenance 

Regrettably, some homeowners often forget to keep their heating and cooling systems maintained. While this may not seem important, inadequate maintenance can result in a number of issues, including inefficiency, breakdowns, and a shorter system lifespan. 

During an HVAC maintenance service, a heating and cooling technician should inspect your HVAC system, clean key components, and identify minor issues before they create bigger, more expensive repair issues. Maintenance keeps HVAC systems functioning at optimal condition, which means less energy is needed to heat and cool your home. This can reduce your energy bills, prolong the lifespan of HVAC equipment, and contribute to fewer repairs. 

We suggest two HVAC tune ups annually – one during the spring before summer and another in the fall before the arrival of cold weather. 

3. Getting rid of Your Old, Inefficient HVAC Equipment 

Annoyingly, like all appliances, HVAC systems don't last forever and eventually need to be replaced. New heaters and cooling systems are much more efficient than models produced just over 10 years ago. Luckily, local HVAC companies like Refrigeration Systems Ltd. can perform professional services such as furnace installation in Richmond.  

Well-maintained furnaces and air conditioners can live around 15-20 years. If your systems are within that span, it is often be a good idea to replace them early to prevent premature equipment failures that can leave you cold and uncomfortable on a cold winter night. If your HVAC system is approaching 15 years old and has a problem that needs an expensive repair, it’s definitely time to replace the unit. As reported by the U.S. Department of Energy, installing a new HVAC system can save you about 20-40% on your monthly energy bills, so you’ll recoup some of the costs of buying a new system. 

 A professional HVAC technician can help you determine the most energy efficient HVAC system on the market. For the most part, look for HVAC systems that are Energy Star certified, meaning the equipment meets strict guidelines made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. LENNOX HVAC systems are some of the most efficient systems on the market, offering both high AFUE and SEER ratings. AFUE is intended for heating systems and illustrates how well they convert fuel to heat. SEER, in the meantime, is used to calculate the efficiency of air conditioning systems.  

Contact a reputable HVAC provider like Refrigeration Systems Ltd. for air conditioning installation in Richmond. 

 4. Switch to More Energy-Efficient Air Filters 

When you’re searching for new HVAC filters, remember that not all air filters are capable of providing the same results. Some air filters are far more efficient than others, contributing to lower energy bills and a clean home. 

The effectiveness of HVAC air filters is scored by their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating. The MERV scale ranges between 1-20; the higher the number, the more efficient the filters are. It’s relevant to note, though, that high-efficiency air filters can in fact impede airflow too much based on the type of HVAC system you have. It’s beneficial to review the owner’s manual before getting a filter to determine the best option for your system.