If you are looking for ways to make your house more energy efficient in order to save money and be more eco-friendly, upgrade your HVAC – or at least fix it up – as soon as possible.

With summer ending and fall just getting started, if you’ve considered upgrading your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, now is the time to do it. Replacing your old system can take time, so it’s best to do it when you can go a little while without it. That isn’t to say that replacing an HVAC takes months, but you don’t want to be unable to use your AC when it randomly hits 100-degrees, plan ahead.

Of course, with costs in the thousands, replacing a full HVAC system is easier said than done. But if it is a possibility, it could actually make financial sense. As much as half the energy a residential property uses goes to heating and cooling your home. According to the national average, a new HVAC system can save as much as 33-percent per year, saving $540 over five years and $1,620 over 15-years. And if that is not enough, there are Federal and State tax credits available as well. It won’t happen immediately, but eventually, you will recoup your expenses.

The first step when replacing an HVAC is to get an estimate and see what your options are. A new HVAC system may not be the best option. Before committing to a replacement, check to see if there are ways to modify your current system. Call in an expert to check your options.

Simple tips

  • Clean your outdoor condenser – If your outdoor unit is covered in debris (including something as simple as leaves), it will lower its efficiency. A professional cleaning is always a good idea, but sometimes simple fixes go a long way.
  • Keep your thermostat clear – While this won’t specifically help your HVAC efficiency in terms of output, make sure there are no lamps or other appliances that give off heat near the thermostat. They can fool the thermostat into thinking the room is hotter than it is, which means it will think it needs to run more.
  • Clear your drain – Near the furnace in the basement, you’ll find a drain by the indoor cooling coil. You can clean this yourself with a cup of chlorine bleach followed by a gallon of water, or you can hire a professional.
  • Don’t use the oven or dryer when it’s hot – A dryer creates additional heat when in operation, which warms the entire house and means the AC needs to work a little harder to cool things down. The same is true of the oven. This isn’t an issue in the winter when the heater is running, but running them all together can cause huge energy drains.
  • Insulate your ductwork – Any ducts that are exposed should be checked to ensure that they are properly sealed. Even a small leak can cause issues.
  • Have your unit inspected regularly – You should try to plan on having a professional come out at least once a year to make sure everything is working properly. They can also double check some of the smaller things – like the ducts – as well as ensuring your HVAC is working properly. Even if things seem to be working well, there may be something small a professional can see that you don’t.
  • Change your air filter often – You should plan on changing your air filters every few months at most, and ideally once a month. Not only will dust and dirt clog the filter and prohibit airflow, it can build up in the system and lead to big issues.
  • Install a programmable thermostat – a programmable thermostat is estimated to save as much as $180 a year in energy costs. It’s a relatively easy fix that will eventually pay for itself.

Upgrade Your HVAC

If the above options aren’t enough, or if you are at a place where replacing your HVAC is a possibility, look for Energy Star qualified units. Of course, not all HVACs are the same. Just because something is bigger, for example, doesn’t mean it is necessarily better. You may think purchasing the top-of-the-line HVAC is going to be the best bet, but it might be massive overkill for your house. Get the right model, not the “best” model.

The safest way to address this issue is to speak to a professional and get as many options as you can to find the right one for you. They will come out to your residence and determine exactly what is needed, then find the best match for your budget. And given that your HVAC will hopefully last you years, if not decades, it makes sense to do it right the first time.

Making a home more energy efficient is a good goal for anyone. There are plenty of ways to do this, some big some small, but ultimately you should consider contacting a professional. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.