Sustainability Tip: Spring into HVAC maintenance
Walking Mountains Science Center
Summer is on its way, and with the sun shining longer and the temperature rising, it means a few more hours of outside activities. During this period of change, we must not neglect our heating and ventilation systems that worked so hard for us this past winter.
Maintaining a healthy HVAC system not only keeps the system healthy, it can keep you and your home healthy, too. Air contaminants and pollutants can cause physical strain on your body, this is one reason why proper maintenance of your equipment is so important. Scheduled servicing can also save you on energy costs.
One energy saving spring cleaning activity is to check the condition of these systems. This measure not only lowers utility costs, it also improves your indoor air quality. Filters are a quick do-it-yourself project to help mitigate these two areas of concern. Old filters can be causing stress on your system, meaning the system is working harder and has reduced performance efficiency–which translates to higher energy bills. Dirty filters can also be forcing dust and contaminants into your home. This maintenance measure extends the life of your system and ensures the air in your home is clean and filtered. Ideally, homeowners are recommended to inspect these filters once a month for effectiveness. It may be possible that you need to change these at least every three months, and even more often if used heavily.
Professional servicing can also increase your energy savings and increase indoor air quality. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends doing this every six months. A certified HVAC technician can ensure that your system is performing safely and efficiently. They can determine the system’s remaining life expectancy, ensure proper venting and firing, determine efficiency of your ducting or piping, and provide recommended heating and cooling settings for maximum comfort and savings.
HVAC best practices
- Check the condition of your vent connection pipe and chimney. Parts of the venting system may have deteriorated over time. Chimney problems can be expensive to repair, and may help justify installing new heating equipment that won’t use the existing chimney.
- Check the physical integrity of the heat exchanger. Leaky boiler heat exchangers leak water and are easy to spot. Furnace heat exchangers mix combustion gases with house air when they leak—an important safety reason to have them inspected.
- Adjust the controls on the boiler or furnace to provide optimum water and air temperature settings for both efficiency and comfort.
- If you’re considering replacing or retrofitting your existing heating system, have the technician perform a combustion-efficiency test.
Contact Walking Mountains Science Center’s Energy Programs to find out how we can help. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 970-328-8777 for rebate opportunities and our local contractor list.
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Matt Parker is an energy programs coordinator at Walking Mountains Science Center.