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efficiency HVAC

10 Ways to Make Your HVAC System More Energy Efficient

energy-efficient hvacDo you dread opening your monthly energy bill? You’re not alone. Heating and cooling your home accounts for a significant portion of your total energy use. But what if we told you there were ways to keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank? The good news is there are several things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Below, we’ll look at ten tips that can slash your energy bills and help you become more eco-friendly. 

Invest in a Smart Thermostat

Instead of running your HVAC system constantly, invest in a smart thermostat to adjust temperatures automatically when you’re away or asleep.  A programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. This simple step can significantly reduce your energy consumption.

Change Your Air Filter Regularly

A clogged air filter makes your HVAC system work harder to circulate air, leading to decreased efficiency and higher energy bills.  To avoid this, change your air filter every 1-3 months, depending on the type of filter and your home environment.  A clean air filter also helps improve indoor air quality.

Seal Drafts 

Those little drafts around windows and doors can add up to a big energy loss. Seal any leaks around windows, doors, and other openings in your home’s exterior. This will help prevent conditioned air from escaping in the summer and warm air from escaping in the winter, forcing your HVAC system to work harder to maintain your desired temperature.

Embrace the Power of the Sun

During the warmer months, take advantage of natural ventilation by opening windows in the morning and evening when the outdoor temperature is cooler. This helps circulate fresh air and reduces your reliance on air conditioning. Similarly, open blinds and curtains during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home in the winter.

Use Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can help circulate air and make you feel more comfortable without lowering the thermostat setting. In the summer, set your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise to create a cool breeze. In the winter, reverse the direction to push warm air down from the ceiling.

Upgrade to an Energy-Efficient HVAC System

If your system is old and inefficient, consider upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient HVAC model. Look for systems with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for cooling and a high Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) for heating. While the upfront cost of a new system may be higher, the long-term savings on energy bills can be significant.

Clean the Condenser Coils

The condenser coils on your outdoor unit release heat from your home. Over time, these coils can become clogged with dirt and debris, reducing their efficiency. Gently clean the condenser coils with a soft brush or a vacuum to improve airflow.

Address Duct Leaks

Leaking ducts can waste a significant amount of energy. If you suspect leaks within your ducts,  consult an HVAC service professional to have them inspected and sealed.

Trim Plants Around the Outdoor Unit

Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from your outdoor unit. Blocked airflow can restrict the unit’s ability to function correctly. Ensure at least two feet of clearance around the unit on all sides.

Schedule an HVAC Tune-Up at Least Once Every Two Years

Regular maintenance is crucial for keeping your HVAC system running efficiently. A professional heating and cooling service can perform a tune-up to clean the system, check for leaks, and ensure all components function adequately. During an HVAC tune-up, technicians can also identify potential problems before they become major issues, saving you money on repairs in the future. 

Why Choose Clay’s Climate Control for All Your Heating and Cooling Needs?

By following these simple tips, you can make your HVAC system more energy efficient, save money on energy bills, and reduce environmental impact. To schedule an HVAC tune-up, call us at 609-301-6002!

air conditioning

Tips to Get Your Air Conditioner Ready For Summer

air conditionerIt’s the first warm day of the year. You flip on your AC only to find it won’t turn on. As the temperatures rise, a well-maintained air conditioner becomes a necessity, not a luxury. Don’t wait until the first heat wave hits to discover your AC isn’t working correctly! Below, our team will share some helpful tips to get your air conditioner in the best shape possible before the warm weather strikes.

Prepare Your Indoor Unit

One of the most crucial components of your unit is the air filter. A clogged filter restricts airflow, making your AC work harder and less efficiently. This can lead to higher energy bills, uneven cooling, and system breakdowns. Here’s how to keep your filters clean and maintained:

  • Check, clean, and replace – Inspect your air filter monthly during peak cooling season (typically summer and early fall). Most filters need changing every 1-3 months, depending on usage and household factors like pets. 
  • Choose the right filter – Not all filters are the same. Look for a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating between 8 and 14 for optimal performance and dust capture. Check the filter’s size (usually printed on the side) to ensure a proper fit. Most filters list their length, width, and depth in inches.
  • Easy access – Ensure your filter is easily accessible and clear of obstructions. If you’re struggling to find or remove it, consult your AC’s manual or call an expert for professional air conditioner services

Replacing your air filter is a simple yet essential step in AC system maintenance. It can improve efficiency, extend the lifespan of your unit, and improve indoor air quality. 

Conquer the Outdoor Unit 

The outdoor unit is the heart of your air conditioner. It expels hot air from your home, keeping you comfortable inside. However, this unit is exposed to the elements all year, making it susceptible to dirt, debris, and pest infestations. Here’s how to keep your condenser unit maintained: 

  • Clear the area – Before starting anything else, turn off the power to your AC unit at the breaker box. Once safely shut down, remove any leaves, branches, or debris from the unit. Aim for around a one-foot clearance on all sides for the best airflow.
  • Clean the coils – The condenser coils are responsible for releasing heat. Over time, they collect dust, dirt, and grime. Use a hose with a gentle spray setting to remove debris from the fins. The coils are delicate, so avoid using pressure washers or stiff brushes to clean them. 
  • Inspect the drain line – A clogged drain line can lead to water buildup, causing rust and damage. Locate the drain line, usually at the base of the unit, and ensure it’s clear of debris. You can also pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain line to clear any clogs if you notice that no water is dripping out of it. 

Remember that while most of these tasks are manageable for homeowners, if you don’t feel comfortable working on your AC unit, don’t hesitate to call a residential AC service professional like Clay’s Climate Control. 

Test and Tune

Once you’ve checked off the cleaning tasks, it’s time to test the unit and ensure it’s running smoothly. Here’s how to do it:

  • Power up – Turn your AC unit back on at the breaker box. 
  • Thermostat check – Set your thermostat to cool and a comfortable temperature. 
  • Listen – Pay attention to any strange sounds coming from your unit. Banging, grinding, or screeching can indicate potential problems. 
  • Airflow assessment – Walk around your home and feel the air coming from your vents. It should be cool and consistent throughout your house. Uneven airflow could signify blocked vents or ductwork issues. 

If you notice issues during your testing, don’t attempt to fix them yourself. Call a qualified residential AC service professional for diagnosis and repair. 

Feeling Warm? Check This First

It’s normal for your AC to work hard during the summer when temperatures reach well over 90. Even if your home feels a little warmer than usual, as long as cool air is coming from your vents and it cools down at night, your system is likely working fine. We recommend you call us for help when:

  • No cool air – If warm air or no air is coming from the vents, your AC has stopped cooling. Turn the system off immediately to prevent further damage. This will help the technician diagnose and fix the problem quickly. 
  • Cool air, but still warm – After repairs, it may take some time for your home to reach your desired temperature. It can take about an hour for the system to cool down even one degree. If your home hasn’t cooled down significantly within 24 hours, contact Clay’s Climate Control for further assistance. 

Schedule Professional Maintenance

While regular cleaning and DIY maintenance are crucial, professional air conditioner services from Clay’s Climate Control are the best way to ensure your system is running at its highest efficiency. Ideally, schedule a professional service call once a year, preferably before the peak cooling season. To schedule an AC tune-up, call 609-961-6358 today.