If you’re looking for ways to reduce your energy costs, many potential upgrades exist that help you scale back your usage. However, one of the key areas to examine first as part of your strategy to slash costs is your HVAC system. Because inefficiencies can easily send your energy bills skyrocketing, it’s critical to make sure your heating and cooling assemblies are in top condition and make the best use of all those kilowatt-hours. Keep these tips in mind as you evaluate the furnace and air conditioners in your home.

How Old Is Your HVAC System?

The age of your heating and cooling assemblies is a critical factor you should evaluate first. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests swapping out your air conditioning units and heat pumps after 10 years, and furnaces and boilers after 15 years. Technological improvements have given rise to systems that use far less energy than their older counterparts. For example, This Old House revealed that newer innovations in cooling include the use of R410A, a refrigerant that enhances compressor performance to consume less electricity. Additionally, it doesn’t deplete the ozone layer, unlike older coolants such as R22.

The health of your HVAC systems may also be impacted by their age in another way: their need for maintenance and repairs. Common signs that they require replacement include excessive dust, noisy operation, high humidity levels and uneven temperature zones in your home. If you’ve been paying for a lot of repairs and are still seeing your energy bills rise, it might be time to bite the bullet and install a new HVAC assembly. When shopping around for heating and cooling home services technicians, be sure to pick a vendor that offers products bearing the ENERGY STAR designation.

Energy-Smart Strategies Don’t Stop at a New HVAC Assembly

After you put new climate control equipment in your home, your next step is to maximize efficiency. Most systems now include a programmable thermostat, and this feature can be a huge boon for homeowners. Try setting your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. This should keep your home comfortable while holding down energy costs. Additionally, lowering your winter temperature setting by 10 or 15 degrees when you’re asleep or not at home will avoid waste. Finally, considering programming your thermostat to shut the A/C off when you’re gone during the day.

Keep Up With Routine Maintenance

Your efforts to replace your HVAC system and tool it for optimal energy usage will come to naught if you don’t keep up with regular maintenance. Air filters must be changed monthly during the winter and summer months to prevent dust and dirt buildup that slows down the assemblies. Sealing your heating and cooling ducts is also a wise move, along with scheduling yearly tune-ups to ensure your systems are running at peak efficiency.

While a myriad of ways exists to improve your home’s energy efficiency, your HVAC systems are a vital start point. Installing new heating and cooling modules will do much to lower your costs, but you must also implement an efficacious temperature control strategy. Moreover, proper maintenance will ensure that they always operate at peak performance. With these remedies, you can significantly reduce your residential climate control costs.