Running your HVAC, especially during the Coastal Bend’s long, hot summers, will likely comprise the lion’s share of your energy costs. You probably expect to pay significantly for electricity, so you may not be aware of all the hidden energy costs that are adding up in your home. Here are some things to look out for.
Over time, your ductwork may start leaking. It’s likely out of sight, so you may not notice when segments come apart or develop holes and cracks. Not only are these holes allowing conditioned air out of your home, but they’re also letting humid, unconditioned air inside with your supply air, making it harder for your HVAC to do its job.
Dirty air filter.
Not changing the air filter regularly can contribute to the hidden costs of running the HVAC. Dirty filters slow down airflow, so the system struggles to cool or heat. Dirty filters also make it harder for the system to dehumidify the air. Furthermore, a dirty filter allows more dirt in the HVAC workings, resulting in hidden costs to address breakdowns and repairs as the HVAC runs hotter.
Erratic thermometer changes.
Sudden thermometer changes — that is, moving the setpoint way down on a hot day in the vain hope it will cool the home faster (it won’t) — will waste energy and won’t accomplish your goal. The setpoints should be set or programmed — perhaps calling for more energy when occupants are up and about and less when they are away or sleeping — and left alone.
Your home may have small cracks around windows, doors, baseboards, and other locations that are leaking out conditioned air and letting in unconditioned air, resulting in more hidden electricity costs. Fix leaks with caulk, insulation, or weatherstripping.
Even when certain appliances are turned “off,” they still use energy. Some of the worst energy vampires are cable boxes, satellite boxes, DVD/VCRs, coffeemakers, and microwaves. Plug them all into a power strip and turn the strip off.
For more on the hidden costs of HVAC, contact CCAC of Corpus Christi.