Your HVAC system is an integral part of your home. Whether providing heating, cooling or ventilation, HVAC equipment can influence not only the comfort level inside your house, but also the overall value of the residence. There are several HVAC system upgrades and add-ons that you can apply to boost HVAC performance while also improving your home’s value, both immediately and in the long term. Here’s a short list of those upgrades, along with information on who should perform them.
Sealing air leaks in your home is a good first step toward improving HVAC performance and reducing your monthly energy bills. When conditioned air leaks out of gaps, holes and cracks in your home’s structure, you not only lose that air, but you also have to pay for more conditioned air to make up for the loss. The HVAC system works overtime and monthly bills are higher than they should be.
To correct this problem, make sure all windows and doors are sealed with caulking around the frames and casings. Add weather stripping to doors and windows to stop drafts and air leaks. Find openings in walls, foundations, the attic and other areas and seal them appropriately.
Many air sealing tasks can be performed by the homeowner. Finding well-hidden leaks may require a professional energy audit.
Programmable thermostats are electronic controllers for the HVAC system. Whereas older thermostats were little more than on/off switches for the furnace or air conditioner, programmable models give you a wide range of control over the function of your HVAC equipment.
Use the thermostat’s pre-programmed set points to reduce HVAC system operation when it’s not needed, such as when you and your family are gone during the day, or at night when everyone is comfortably in bed. Avoid using manual temperature overrides whenever possible.
Programmable thermostats are relatively easy to install for a do-it-yourself type of homeowner.
It’s possible to add components to your HVAC equipment that will boost system performance and efficiency. If you have a heat pump, for example, you can include new or upgraded features such as:
Installation of these components should be done by a professional HVAC technician. Talk to your local trusted HVAC contractor about component upgrades that can be used for furnaces and air conditioners.
The purpose of insulation is to reduce the movement of heat from one place to another. This means that insulation stops heat from getting into your home in the summer and keeps it from escaping in the winter.
Insulation levels could be increased in your home’s walls, floors, ceilings, roof, foundation, basement and attic. Batt or roll insulation is the most common, and it’s installed between beams and joists. Loose fill or foam insulation can be used in large areas or locations that are irregularly shaped or difficult to reach.
Handling insulation usually requires specialized safety garments and equipment, so installation should be left to professionals.
Water heating consumes a significant portion of a household’s monthly energy budget. Lowering the temperature settings at the water heater’s thermostat can decrease the amount of money you spend every month while still providing plenty of hot water for bathing, cleaning and other purposes. Usually, a setting of 120 degrees is sufficient for most residential hot water needs.
Simple adjustments at the thermostat can be made by almost anybody.