Did you know that the HVAC system in your home accounts for nearly half of your total energy usage? Despite advancements in green energy sources and renewable materials, the need to stay cool in summer and warm in winter still has a hefty ecological cost. Fortunately, you can reduce your carbon footprint by using your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system more efficiently.

1. Invest in Proper Maintenance

Regular HVAC maintenance is key when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint via efficient HVAC. By having your system serviced regularly, you will be able to ensure that its components are running as efficiently as possible, so they don’t have to work overtime and waste energy. Additionally, routinely cleaning or replacing your HVAC system’s air filters will help prevent dust and debris from blocking airflow and hindering performance. It is recommended that you clean or change them out at least every 90 days. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing clogged filters with clean ones can lower your energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

Finally, stay on top of any necessary HVAC repairs. For instance, a bent fan blade or a refrigerant leak in your cooling system can significantly increase how much electricity it takes to cool your home. Taking care of problems like these quickly is not only good for the environment, but it can also save you money in the long run by preventing further damage and keeping your system running smoothly all year round.

2. Install a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

A Programmable thermostat is an effective tool for reducing your carbon footprint, as it allows you to set the temperature in your home or business automatically. Most programmable thermostats can store six or more settings for a given day, and you can manually override these settings if you are uncomfortable without affecting the weekly schedule you have set up. These devices allow you to avoid heating or cooling your home when it’s unnecessary.

Smart thermostats have all the benefits of programmable ones with more functionality. You can use your smartphone or tablet to adjust the temperature in your home, no matter where you are. A smart thermostat can also detect when nobody is home by using motion sensors or checking your phone’s location. This means your heating or cooling system will go into efficiency mode whenever your house is vacant. This way, you won’t have to figure out every household member’s schedule in advance to reduce your energy consumption. In addition, many smart thermostat apps produce energy use reports. You can use this information to determne if your energy-saving steps are effective.

3. Upgrade Your System

If part of your current heating or cooling system is over 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing your furnace or central air conditioner. The Department of Energy reports that the efficiency of older furnaces ranges from 56% to 70%. New systems can reach efficiencies as high as 99% and convert almost all the fossil fuel they use to heat your home. With a new system, staying comfortable in winter takes less fuel and reduces your environmental impact.

In addition, when replacing an air conditioner or furnace, you should also consider how efficient a model is compared to other models on the market. For example, ENERGY STAR-certified central air conditioners have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) ratings and use 8% less energy than conventional models. Replacing old HVAC systems with more efficient heating and cooling equipment can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

When installing or upgrading any HVAC system, it’s always best to call for professional service. Not only will this ensure that the job is done correctly and safely, but it will also help prevent costly mistakes that could result in wasted energy and higher energy bills.

4. Use Fans and Windows When You Can

The natural ventilation approach to cooling and heating is based on the principle that you can increase air circulation in your home by using windows and fans. This approach can help reduce your carbon footprint by allowing you to use less energy from your HVAC system while still providing comfortable indoor temperatures.

During summer, you can open windows at night to let in cool air from outside. You can also set up a fan in an area that tends to get stuffy so that it helps circulate the air throughout the house. Ceiling fans can also play a role in how much energy you use to heat and cool your home. During the warmer months, set them to rotate counterclockwise to send air that feels cooler toward the floor. Alternatively, when it is chilly, set the ceiling fan to run clockwise and at a slow speed. This creates an updraft that sends cool air upward to replace warmer air along the ceiling and send it down. By using fans and windows to your advantage, you won’t have to rely so heavily on your HVAC system to keep you comfortable, helping to reduce your environmental impact.

5. Consider Solar Heating

The use of solar heating is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while taking advantage of an energy source that’s both clean and renewable. This approach requires installing photovoltaic panels or thermal collectors on your roof or another part of your home to capture and store energy from the sun. This stored energy can provide warmth during cold winters to supplement your traditional heating system. When deciding if solar energy is right for you, keep in mind that there are federal solar tax credits and Maryland solar rebate programs available to offset installation costs. These incentives may make a solar system a viable way to reduce your carbon footprint.

6. Check Your House’s Insulation

Proper insulation is key for reducing your home’s energy usage and, thus, your household’s carbon footprint. Inspecting the insulation in your home regularly will help ensure that heat isn’t escaping unnecessarily during winter months or entering during summer months.

One of the common culprits of heating or cooling loss in a home is unfinished attics. They should be insulated between and over the floor joists to seal off the living spaces below. The Department of Energy advises that this insulation should be 10 to 13 inches thick. Other places to check for sufficient insulation are floors above crawl spaces and garages. In addition, inspect the caulking around all your windows and doors to ensure they are sealed. Properly insulating your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs but will reduce your household’s impact on the environment by lowering its energy needs.

Contact the Professionals

At HB Home Service Team, we have been serving the residents of Randallstown, MD, since 1914. We install, maintain, and repair heating and cooling systems. In addition, we provide a full range of plumbing services. We would also like to invite you to join our Gold Shield Membership program, which offers annual tune-ups and discounts on repairs and replacement systems. Contact HB Home Service Team today to set up a maintenance visit or learn about upgrading your heating or cooling system to reduce your carbon footprint.

HB Home Service Team

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