dirty hvac air filter up close

4 Things That Are Bad for Your HVAC System (and Your Wallet)

While owning a high-efficiency HVAC system can do wonders for your monthly bills, there are several other factors that can affect your energy savings--for better or worse. Below, we explain some of the most common mistakes people make when heating and cooling their homes that:

  1. put unnecessary stress on their system;
  2. decrease the system’s efficiency;
  3. increase their energy costs.

Mistake #1: Leaving the Same Air Filter In Too Long

We know we sound like a broken record when we say this, but one of the most important parts of maintaining your system is changing the air filter. The air filter plays a critical role for your system: it keeps dust and other airborne particles out that would otherwise decrease the components’ efficiency.

However, when an air filter gets really dirty, it starts to block airflow into your system. This negatively impacts your system’s efficiency. Not only will a lack of airflow make your system use more energy and struggle to perform, but it can cause the machinery to overheat and break down. Bottom line: frequently check on your air filter, and regularly provide a clean replacement.

Mistake #2: Turning Off the System Completely While No One Is Home

Customers frequently ask us if they should be turning their systems off entirely while they are away from home. Generally, during winter, it’s best to lower your thermostat while you’re away but still let your heater run periodically. Similarly, during summer, it’s best to raise your thermostat but let your AC run periodically.

Why should you let your system run every so often, even when you’re away? Let’s look at what happens during the cold months of the year. Whenever your heater stops running, your home starts to lose heat. This creates a temperature drop. A small temperature drop only requires a little bit of energy to overcome. A big energy drop will require a lot of energy to overcome.

In other words, if you allow your home to become extremely cold, your heater will have to run for a long cycle (which can stress the equipment) and use a lot of energy to make your home comfortable again. If you let your heater maintain a more consistent temperature in your home, it won’t need to work as hard or use as much energy. The same principle applies to your air conditioner during summer. The hotter your home gets, the longer your AC will need to run and the more energy it will need to use to get your home back to your desired temperature.

Mistake #3: Closing Wall Vents to “Redirect” Air

You’ve probably noticed that the vents on your walls, ceilings, or floors have a small lever that allows you to adjust the vent opening. You can move this lever to slightly adjust the direction that air comes out. It’s also possible to close the vent with this lever.

The question is, will closing vents allow you to redirect that air elsewhere and save money? The answer is no. To redirect air to another part of your home, your system needs dampers inside the ductwork or some kind of zone control system, which an HVAC contractor can install for you. By closing an air vent, you’ll actually create a buildup of air pressure in that air duct that can create or worsen existing air leaks. Additionally, closing vents throws your HVAC system off balance because it’s taking in more air than it’s sending out. These issues can negatively impact your system’s efficiency.

Mistake #4: Skipping Preventative Maintenance

Your heater and air conditioner are complex pieces of equipment. Without some TLC, it’s only a matter of time before the system's performance starts to go downhill. The Department of Energy recommends routine maintenance for air conditioners as well as furnaces and boilers, not only for efficiency reasons but also to prevent safety hazards, like cracks in the combustion chamber.

Routine preventative maintenance is one of the easiest ways to keep your HVAC system running smoothly for as long as possible and prevent repairs. During the appointment, the technician performs tasks such as clearing out the dust and grime that’s slowing down the equipment, applying lubrication where needed, and tightening and adjusting any misaligned parts. Another critical part of the maintenance is the inspection, during which the technician looks for any potential problems and safety risks.

For reliable AC maintenance and heater maintenance in Salem, you can count on the friendly professionals at Jet Heating. Contact us online or give us a call today at: (503) 647-6133.