Energy costs are often one of the largest portions of a family’s budget, but by improving the energy efficiency of your home, you can keep your utility costs more reasonable and insulate yourself from fluctuating energy prices. In the Largo area, a heat pumps is an efficient way to both heat and cool your home, and with the following tips, you can make sure your heat pump uses as little energy as possible and improve the overall energy efficiency of the rest of your home:
Service Your Heat Pump Regularly
At least once a year, you should have a professional HVAC technician inspect your system for problems and perform the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures. This will help keep your system running smoothly and efficiently, reduce your energy usage, extend the life of your heat pump and fulfill warranty requirements.
A service visit will typically include cleaning the indoor and outdoor coils, changing the air filter, cleaning the blower fan, lubricating moving parts, checking the refrigerant level, inspecting the coolant lines and verifying that all electrical connections are clean and tight. Between service visits, you should check the air filter yourself about once a month and clean or replace it if necessary. Also, check supply and return vents to make sure they’re clean and not blocked by nearby furniture, curtains or other items.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can be used to automatically adjust the temperature of your home while you’re sleeping or at work. Reducing the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees in the winter and raising it by the same amount in the summer can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent.
Today’s programmable thermostats are relatively inexpensive and easy to install; just make sure to choose a model that’s compatible with your heat pump. Heat pumps have different thermostat requirements than other heating systems, and incompatible devices may cause problems. Consult the owner’s manual or your HVAC contractor to learn which ones will work correctly.
Add More Insulation
Insulation helps to maintain the temperature in your home by slowing the natural heat transfer process between the indoor and outdoor air. In the Largo area, you should have a minimum of R-30 in the attic, though up to R-60 is recommended. Floors should have R-13 or up to R-19 insulation and the walls should have at least R-11.
Loose fill or fiberglass batts can easily be added over the existing insulation in the attic floor, if the room is unfinished. In finished attics, more insulation can be added to the ceilings and knee walls, if space permits. For existing floors and walls, the best options are blown-in cellulose or injected foam insulation, which require minimal remodeling to install. If you need to replace your siding, additional insulation can be added to walls by installing rigid foam panels between the wall and the new siding or by using insulated siding.
Seal Air Leaks
If conditioned air is allowed to leak to the outdoors, or if outdoor air can find a path into your home, your heat pump will be forced to work much harder to maintain your home’s temperature, increasing energy usage and utility bills. The most common causes of air leaks include drafty windows or doors, cracks in the foundation, damaged siding and improperly-sealed holes that are cut through the exterior walls or the attic floor to accommodate pipes, electrical lines, exhaust vents and appliance flues.
To reduce air leaks, inspect the weatherstripping on your doors and windows every few months, and replace it when necessary. Use caulk to seal around stationary joints in windows and doors, and add door sweeps to seal the bottoms of exterior doors. Seal any holes or gaps in the foundation, exterior walls and attic floor with caulk if the size of the gap is 1/4 inch or less, using the appropriate type of caulk for the material. For larger holes, use a combination of expanding foam insulation and caulk.
Choose Efficient Appliances and Electronics
When shopping for new appliances or electronics, choose versions that are energy efficient, such as those that are Energy Star qualified. Today’s refrigerators, dishwashers, televisions, computers and other electronics use much less energy than many models from even a few years ago.
Learn more about United Air Conditioning’s heat pump options, or contact us today at 727-470-6803 for professional help determining ways you can save energy in your Largo or Tampa Bay area home.