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HVAC Energy-Saving Tips in Annapolis and Pasadena, MD

Installing an energy-efficient HVAC system can significantly lower your home’s heating and cooling costs. Energy-efficient HVAC systems heat and cool homes more efficiently, so the system does not have to work as hard, run as long, or use as much energy to keep your home comfortable. An energy-efficient air conditioner or heat pump will make your home more eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint. At Barstow and Sons, we specialize in helping our customers find ways to increase their energy savings, including offering energy-efficient heat pump and air conditioner installation, maintenance, and repair. The following are our energy-saving tips to improve your HVAC system’s energy efficiency and work towards an energy-efficient home. Call us to schedule an appointment for an energy-efficient HVAC installation in Annapolis or Pasadena, MD.

Choosing an Energy-Efficient HVAC System

Your home’s HVAC system includes an air conditioner/ heat pump and an air handler/furnace. Both systems must be energy efficient for you to have an energy-efficient home. An energy-efficient HVAC system is designed to use less energy and maintain a comfortable temperature in your home without causing astronomical heating and cooling costs. To be certified or labeled energy efficient, the air conditioning and heating system must meet specific qualifications or standards. Looking for an ENERGY STAR symbol or certification makes it easy to tell if an HVAC system is energy efficient. ENERGY STAR is administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Energy, which will conduct rigorous testing on household appliances and electronics to determine if they meet the robust standards for energy efficiency. If you pick an HVAC system with an ENERGY STAR certification, you can rest easy knowing it will make your home more energy efficient.

Understanding Common Terms Used to Explain Energy-Efficiency

ENERGY STAR uses certain terms to explain how energy-efficient air conditioning and heating systems are. Let’s take a look at what they mean so that you can make an informed decision when picking out a new HVAC system:

  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio – The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating, measures the ratio of cooling output throughout the cooling season. It indicates how energy efficient air conditioners are. A higher SEER rating indicates higher energy efficiency. Look for a SEER rating of at least 14.5 for an energy-efficient home.
  • Energy Efficiency Ratio – The Energy Efficiency Ratio or EER is the result of dividing the cooling output by the energy used. It is a generalized measure of how long it takes to cool a room from a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor – The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF, is a metric used for heat pumps. It calculates their heating efficiency by dividing the heating output for the season by the energy input for that same season. A higher rating indicates higher energy efficiency. Look for a heat pump with an HSPF rating between 8-10.
  • Annual Fuel Utilization Utility – Annual Fuel Utilization Utility or AFUE is a measure of the energy efficiency of a furnace. It measures the heat delivered compared to the fuel supplied. Look for an AFUE rating of at least 80%. An 80% rating means that 80% of the fuel is converted to heat while 20% is lost, so the higher the rating, the better.
  • British Thermal Unit – A British thermal unit or BTU is the amount of heat that is required to raise the temperature of a pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. It is a measurement used to determine what size heating system or air conditioning system you need for your home.
  • Efficiency Rating – An efficiency rating is a measurement or calculation of how much energy is used by household appliances, including heating and cooling systems, water heaters, dishwashers, washers and dryers, televisions, and more. The higher the number, the more energy efficient the appliance.
  • Energy Factor – The energy factor or EF measures the energy conversion efficiency of residential appliances.

Understanding ENERGY STAR Ratings

ENERGY STAR ratings assess how well household appliances perform and meet energy efficiency standards. You can use ENERGY STAR ratings to ensure you are choosing the right appliances to maintain an energy-efficient home. To earn an ENERGY STAR, a product must meet rigorous criteria established by the US EPA and the US Department of Energy. These products use less energy, so they can save you money and reduce environmental emissions.

Installing a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a smart thermostat or programmable thermostat gives you complete control over the temperature in your home and when your home’s heating and cooling systems turn on and off. A programmable thermostat allows you to create different schedules by which your HVAC system will operate. For instance, you could set a weekly schedule that turns the thermostat up or down each day when you leave for work and automatically adjusts it when you normally return home. You can also set weekend and vacation schedules. Smart thermostats can be integrated into your smart home system. They allow you to control your thermostat at home or through your smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the world with an internet signal. It’s a huge money saver if you suddenly remember the thermostat while on vacation.

Keeping Your Thermostat at the Optimal Temperature

The optimal temperature range for your home keeps your home comfortable at the lowest possible operating setting to reduce energy usage. Your optimal temperature will depend on your preference, the outside temperature, the age and efficiency of your HVAC system, the age of your home, how drafty or well-insulated it is, and the fuel cost in your area. Avoid fluctuating temperatures too often throughout the day, as that will lower your home’s energy efficiency. The US Department of Energy recommends setting your heating system to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and your air conditioner to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. If you have a heat pump, you have more leeway for temperature adjustments.

Scheduling Routine Check-Ups and Preventive Maintenance

Routine checkups and HVAC inspections allow us to catch HVAC problems before they become more expensive. We can recommend necessary HVAC services and repairs that will extend the lifespan of your system and maintain its performance, safety, and energy efficiency. Preventive maintenance services also keep your system running as well as possible. We will check for signs of problems that could affect your HVAC system’s performance, safety, lifespan, and energy efficiency. Routine maintenance will reduce your risk of HVAC breakdowns or needing costly emergency HVAC repairs as well.

Only Using Professional HVAC Technicians

You should never try to do your own HVAC installation or repairs. While we recommend that our customers regularly change their air filters and keep their vents and ducts clean, we do not recommend that they perform other HVAC maintenance or repair tasks. HVAC services require extensive training and thorough electrical, heating, and cooling systems knowledge. If you make a mistake, you could injure yourself, damage your HVAC system, or damage your property. Relying on a non-professional for HVAC services can also violate your HVAC warranty. We recommend trusting experienced and certified HVAC technicians to service your system.

Invest in Duct Sealing

Duct sealing services can prevent air leaks from your ductwork, improve indoor air quality, and improve the energy efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling system. We offer comprehensive ductwork inspections and duct sealing services. Sealing your ducts will increase energy efficiency, reduce energy bills, improve indoor air quality, extend the lifespan of your HVAC system, keep your home at a more comfortable temperature year-round, and reduce the risk of safety issues.

Improve Your Home’s Insulation

Your home’s insulation also affects its energy efficiency. Schedule a professional inspection to check for signs of animal damage, gaps or cracks, or areas where heated or cooled air could escape. Improving your home’s insulation can help you save up to 15% per year on your heating and cooling costs.

Keep Your Air Filters and Ducts Clean

Keeping your air filters and ducts clean will also improve the energy efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling system. Air filters collect allergens, dust, debris, pet hair, and pollutants and keep them out of your air and away from the delicate components of your HVAC system. If you don’t regularly change your air filters, all that debris can get into your HVAC system and cause problems. We recommend changing your filters once a month if you have pets and every two or three months otherwise. Routine duct cleaning services can also enhance your HVAC system’s performance, safety, and energy efficiency. Inspect your vents regularly to make sure they are clean and clear, or schedule e professional duct cleaning services every one or two years.

Learn More About Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems

If you want to learn more about transforming your home into an energy-efficient home, our team at Barstow and Sons can help. We offer professional installation of energy-efficient HVAC systems in Annapolis and Pasadena, MD. We can evaluate your existing system’s age, performance, safety, and energy efficiency and help you upgrade to a more energy-efficient heat pump or air conditioner. Call us today or contact us online to get started.