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Are You Getting the Biggest Bang for Your HVAC Buck?


If you have a newer HVAC system, chances are it's a fairly efficient model, with a higher SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) for the air conditioner and a higher AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) for the furnace. Nevertheless, you may not be getting all you can out of your newer cooling and heating system if your home is not also efficient.

And even if you have an older, less efficient system, it could be more efficient if you make some changes in your home that will ensure it doesn't have to work as hard to reach temperature set points.

Here are some tips to help you achieve greater efficiency — and greater energy savings — in your home:

Summertime Tips

1. Keep windows, drapes and blinds closed during the day to block sunlight. Consider adding solar window film that allows you to see outside, but that blocks solar rays.

2. Avoid generating heat during the day. Cook with a microwave, and save running the dishwasher and clothes dryer till the evening.

Wintertime Tips

1. Open windows, drapes and blinds to let in solar heat.

2. If you have a fireplace, keep the damper closed unless you have a fire going.

Any Season Tips

1. No matter what the season, keep your air filter changed, and make sure you get regular preventative maintenance on your heating and cooling systems so they work more efficiently.

2. Air seal any cracks that may be letting your conditioned air out. Check around door and window frames, around holes in an exterior wall for cables, electric lines and plumbing, around recessed lighting, around an attic hatch and under exterior doors. Fix any air leaks with weatherstripping, caulk and insulation.

3. Adjust the thermostat 5 degrees or so, up or down, depending on the season, when you're away from home or sleeping.

4. Many electronic devices drain power even when they are turned "off." Plug electronics into a power strip, and turn off the power strip when these devices are not in use.

For more on getting more bang for your HVAC bucks, contact Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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