Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are necessary amenities in modern households. However, standard units, particularly, leave much to be desired for eco-friendliness. That’s why many homeowners decide to upgrade to an eco-friendly HVAC system.
Older HVAC systems traditionally used cooling fluids like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) to push cold air through the vents. Yet these fluids are hazardous to the environment and contribute to global warming.
Production of newer HVAC models has begun excluding chlorine-based coolants since 2020 as the United States works to phase out HCFCs entirely — of course, there’s still a way to go.
Homeowners needing to upgrade their HVAC system will likely end up with one of the eco-friendly models, but they can do other things to make their system even more sustainable and energy efficient.
Here is when homeowners should upgrade their home’s HVAC system and ways to optimize their household’s temperature for ultimate comfort and lower utility bills.
When Should You Upgrade Your Home’s HVAC?
HVAC systems typically last between 10–25 years before needing to be replaced, but that depends on the following factors:
- Frequency of scheduled maintenance for your HVAC unit
- The climate one lives in
- If their home is adequately insulated and sealed
- Their preferred indoor temperature setting
Although a new HVAC system is costly — units may run between $5,000 and $10,000 — it could be well worth the investment for energy savings and improved indoor air quality.
Today’s growing awareness of climate change has many homeowners eager to reduce their carbon footprint. Buying and installing an eco-friendly HVAC system is an excellent purchase for sustainable living.
However, there’s more to upgrading your home’s HVAC for a whole-system revamp than simply replacing an older unit.
5 Ways to Upgrade Your Home’s HVAC
Those interested in creating a more sustainable home might consider an eco-friendly HVAC system. Here are five ways to improve your household temperature and air quality for better energy efficiency.
Ensuring any leaks and cracks are sealed tightly will improve the indoor temperature and prevent the HVAC system from working overtime.
Homeowners typically save 15% on heating and cooling bills or 11% of their total energy when they add insulation to attics, crawl spaces, floors and walls.
Likewise, homeowners might update their ducts when integrating an eco-friendly HVAC system. Spiral ductwork is well-sealed to ensure fewer air leakages and easier system operations.
It’s crucial to remember doors and windows, too. Weatherstripping adds a layer of protection against the outdoor elements while locking air comfortability inside the home. Weatherstripping is a relatively inexpensive and straightforward DIY task homeowners can do on the weekend.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Advanced technologies have made life much easier at home. For instance, smart thermostats can program a home’s temperature remotely or even based on one’s distance from home.
Although every smart thermostat is different, homeowners might purchase one that includes some or all of the following features:
- Machine learning: Adapts to the household’s routine and preferences for different hours of the day
- Geofencing: The device can detect when someone leaves the house or is on their way home, setting the temperature back to where they prefer it.
- Vacation mode: Manages temperature while homeowners are away
- Sensors: Uses sensing technology to balance fluctuating temperatures throughout the home based on zone or occupancy
- Voice assistant compatibility: Integrates with voice assistant devices to manage temperature
Additionally, smart thermostats conduct automatic updates to ensure the system works properly with the latest algorithms for the highest energy savings.
Set the Unit to a Comfortable Temperature
When homeowners program their thermostats about 7° to 10° Fahrenheit below their typical setting for eight hours daily, they can save almost 10% on their heating and cooling costs.
During the winter months, homeowners can set their thermostats to approximately 68° F during the day and drop the temperature when sleeping or away.
In the summer, they can do the same but in reverse. Keep the thermostat at a higher setting so that the house is warmer during the day and cooler in the evening for better sleep.
Change Your Air Filter
Homeowners must change their air filters regularly to ensure they have an eco-friendly HVAC system. For one thing, a clogged air filter hinders proper airflow. Secondly, it can cause indoor pollution levels to rise.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans spend 90% of their time inside their homes where air pollution levels are 2–5 times greater than outside. This is particularly dangerous for older adults or young children with respiratory conditions or cardiovascular disease.
Indoor pollutants that are of the most significant concern include the following:
- Particulate matter, cigarette and fireplace smoke and carbon monoxide from combustion sources
- Pet dander
- Mold and mildew
- Pesticides and cleaning products
- Lead paint in older homes
- Asbestos released from old insulation
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paints and finishes
Air filters trap everything from dust to pet hair to fine particulate matter — meaning homeowners can improve their health when they change the air filters regularly.
Replacing air filters is a quick and easy chore that experts recommend doing at least every 30 days — every 50 days for those who suffer from bad allergies.
Maintenance is essential when upgrading your home’s HVAC. If homeowners didn’t have their units inspected in the past, starting when purchasing a new one is a good idea.
An AC inspection typically covers the following services:
- Changing out the air filters
- Cleaning the coils and looking for defects
- Examining the condensate pump and cleaning away dirt
- Inspecting the thermostat
- Wiping away debris and dirt from the unit
HVAC systems should have an annual tune-up in mid-spring to ensure optimal performance — this could cost between $75 and $200, although prices may vary depending on the unit type.
An HVAC service plan could help homeowners save money if they’re no longer under warranty. Service plans typically cover the inspection checklist plus necessary repairs at a discounted rate.
Save Energy and Money When You Upgrade Your Home’s HVAC
Homeowners should upgrade their home’s HVAC when their unit no longer works correctly or is reaching the end of its life span. An eco-friendly HVAC system ensures reduced energy consumption and more significant savings on utility bills.
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