We can all benefit from saving a few bucks here and there. One of the easiest ways to do so is by improving energy efficiency in your home. Upgrading your HVAC equipment or putting in a smart thermostat, for example, provides more control over your HVAC system, leading to a more energy-efficient home and more affordable monthly energy bills.  

Keep reading to read about 4 ways you can make energy-efficient home improvements. 

 1. Install a Smart Thermostat  

If you still use an older thermostat and access it manually, try taking a step toward the future by installing a smart, or Wi-Fi, thermostat – which contains several features to improve your home's energy efficiency. 

The function homeowners enjoy the most is having the ability to adjust their smart thermostats from anywhere they want with their smartphone or other smart device. For instance, when you forget to change your thermostat before going on vacation, you can simply use your smartphone and make any needed adjustments.  

Similar to a programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat allows you to set up a schedule for your home’s temperature according to the time of day and day of the week so you’re not heating or cooling an empty house. Smart thermostats also offer the ability to watch your temperature preferences over time and automatically make energy-efficient corrections. They can even provide monthly energy reports that illustrate how much energy you’re using and when so you can make changes to save money.  

If you’re wanting to know how to obtain a free smart thermostat, ask your utility company to find out if there are any discounts or free smart thermostats available. 

2. HVAC Tune Ups 

Regrettably, lots of homeowners often forget to have their heating and cooling systems maintained. While this does not seem important, inadequate maintenance will sometimes produce a number of issues, including inefficiency, breakdowns, and a shorter system lifespan. 

During an HVAC maintenance service, your technician should examine your HVAC system, clean necessary components, and pinpoint minor flaws before they lead to bigger, more expensive repair issues. Tune ups keep HVAC systems working at optimal condition, which means less energy is used to heat and cool your home. This could also lower your energy bills, expand the lifespan of HVAC equipment, and contribute to fewer repairs. 

We suggest two HVAC tune ups annually – once in the spring before summer and another in the fall before the arrival of cold weather. 

3. Getting rid of Your Worn-Down, Inefficient HVAC Equipment 

Unfortunately, like any appliance, HVAC systems have a shelf life and inevitably need to be replaced. Newer heaters and cooling equipment is much more efficient than units produced just over a decade ago. Thankfully, helpful HVAC companies like Contra Costa Heating & AC can perform professional services like furnace installation in .  

Well-maintained furnaces and air conditioners can run for about 15-20 years. If your systems are within that timeframe, it is often be a good idea to replace them early to minimize the risk of premature equipment failure that can leave you cold and uncomfortable if it’s a cold winter night. If your equipment is approaching 15 years old and requires an expensive repair, it’s almost always time to replace the unit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, upgrading to a new HVAC system can save you approximately 20-40% on your monthly energy bills, so you’ll get back some of the costs of buying a new system. 

 A professional heating and cooling technician can help you determine the most energy efficient HVAC system on the market. As a general rule of thumb, try to find HVAC systems that are Energy Star certified, which means the equipment fulfills firm guidelines set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. LENNOX HVAC systems are often some of the most efficient systems available, offering both high AFUE and SEER ratings. AFUE is for heating systems and illustrates how well they convert fuel to heat. SEER, in the meantime, is used to calculate the efficiency of cooling equipment.  

Call a reputable HVAC provider like Contra Costa Heating & AC for air conditioning installation in . 

 4. Use Energy-Efficient Air Filters 

The next time you’re searching for new HVAC filters, keep in mind that not all air filters are the same. Specific air filters are far more effective than others, contributing to lower energy bills and a clean home. 

The performance of HVAC air filters is rated by their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating. The MERV scale ranges between 1-20; the higher the number, the more efficient the filters are. It’s relevant to note, however, that high-efficiency air filters can actually obstruct airflow too much based on the type of HVAC system you own. It’s worthwhile to review the owner’s manual before getting a filter to determine the best option for your system.