As homeowners continue to look for ways to save money where they can, heating and cooling often enters the conversation. After all, your HVAC system accounts for a large percentage of your overall energy costs! Here in Southern California, we might enjoy nice weather most of the year, but that doesn’t mean our HVAC systems don’t get use – they’re integral to our comfort.
The answer obviously isn’t to stop running the AC on a sweltering L.A. summer day, so what can we do? Well, there are plenty of great ways to cut down costs and make heating and cooling your home more affordable, effective, and simple. Let’s dive in.
Professional HVAC Maintenance
Without a doubt, it all starts with maintaining your HVAC system. There’s a reason that any reputable manufacturer or HVAC company will always stress of the importance of annual professional maintenance, and it’s because it’s the single most important thing you can do to protect your comfort investment.
Less Repairs, Longer Lifespan
You wouldn’t drive your car 20,000 miles without having the oil changed, tires rotated, and filter changed, would you? We hope not! The same is true for your home heating and cooling systems.
Each year, these systems undergo hundreds of starts and stops, continuously filter your air, and fight to keep your home or business at the temperature you’ve set your thermostat to. Dust can build up inside your system and clog your filter. Thousands of hours of vibrations can loosen components and screws. Mechancial and electrical components can degrade or malfunction over time.
Having an expert technician (like ours here at Kahn Air!) clean, inspect, and adjust your HVAC system each year can prevent a lot of headache. Catching problems early can prevent a big repair need down the line, and ensure you get the maximum lifespan out of your system.
Greater Efficiency and Performance
HVAC maintenance isn’t just about keeping repairs at bay! Having your system cleaned and tuned – along with regularly replacing your filter – helps the system operate at the efficiency it was designed to run at.
Clogged filters, excess dust, and neglect can wreak havoc on any HVAC system. One of the most expensive parts to fix on air conditioner is the compressor, and the main reasons for compressor failure are things we check for during maintenance. These include low refrigerant charge, dirty condenser coils, and blocked suction lines.
Your HVAC system is a big investment. Routine maintenance might cost a little bit of money to schedule every year, but the benefits far outweigh the small price to pay to have a clean, efficient, and professionally tuned system!
Bonus: Improved Comfort
This one’s a no-brainer. An HVAC system that runs more efficiently is going to keep you more comfortable! A dirty system with failing parts is going to have a much harder time keeping up with the demand for heating or cooling – resulting in higher energy usage. If you’re finding yourself turning up or down the thermostat to no avail, something probably isn’t right.
It’s not just about efficiency, either. Your HVAC system and filter help clean the air you’re breathing indoors as it cycles air through the ductwork and system. A cleaner heater and air conditioner can help improve your indoor air quality, too!
You might be thinking, “How would buying a new HVAC system save me money?” – that’s a fair question! While it’s true that a new system is an upfront expense, there are many situations where it makes good financial sense to consider an upgrade. Let’s take a look at why!
An important thing to understand about HVAC systems and technology is that, like any other industry, improvements continue to be made. One of the main focuses of the last several decades has been around efficiency, along with the recent trends of smart technology and sustainability/eco-friendly features.
Without diving too deeply into the topic, the basic takeaway to note is that SEER ratings (for air conditioners and heat pumps), AFUE ratings (for furnaces), and HSPF (heating efficiency rating for heat pumps) have all increased significantly. In fact, there are minimum ratings that manufacturers have to abide by that have risen over time – even in the last decade!
How Do I Know if My HVAC System is Efficient?
The simplest way to look for an efficient HVAC system is to look for ENERGY STAR certification. This means the system meets minimum efficiency standards – which rise over time. A system that was designed as little as a few years ago may no longer meet standards, and a system that was designed a few decades ago certainly doesn’t.
Upgrading to one of our high-efficiency Carrier models, for example, could result in energy savings of $1,000 per year. With a lifespan of 10+ years, these savings could pay the system on their own. Check out this nifty tool to estimate savings!
Today, federal laws mandate that new air conditioners achieve a minimum of 15 SEER, and furnaces a minimum of 81% AFUE. There are also new calculations of efficiency ratings mandated by the Department of Energy called SEER2 and AFUE2 as of 2023. Basically, if your current system was designed more than a decade ago, you’re likely paying more in gas and/or electricity than you need to!
Newer system, newer technology! Some of the more consumer-obvious upgrades and features that our customers love center around smart technology. Many modern systems and thermostats include automation, smart phone control through an app, and even data collection and reporting on energy usage. This includes our popular Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostats!
Inside the systems, you’ll find new features like variable-speed compressors in air conditioners and two-stage or variable-capacity furnaces. These advancements allow for higher efficiency ratings, multiple operation settings (not just “ON” and “OFF”), and even less noise.
Along with upgrades to central heat pumps, furnaces, and air conditioners that use ductwork to move treated air through your home, another option exists. Ductless mini-splits continue to rise in popularity for a number of reasons. The main one is that they are incredibly energy efficient!
Where the higher end of SEER ratings for central air conditioners lies in the 16-20 range, some models of ductless air conditioners achieve 30 and as recently as above 40 SEER!
In addition to energy savings, ductless systems also run incredibly quietly, are space efficient, and come in a variety of configuration options. Add that benefits such as eco-friendly electric operation, lots of tax incentives and rebates, and the ability to customize temperature “zones” in your home, and ductless HVAC is an option to surely consider.
We Can Help!
At Kahn Air, we’re all about helping homeowners and businesses save on their heating and cooling costs while improving their comfort. Whether it’s through achieving greater energy savings, integrating smart HVAC technologies, or maintaining and replacing HVAC systems with ease, we do it all!
If you’d like to schedule an appointment for professional HVAC maintenance in Northridge, CA and the surrounding areas or to request more information about a new system, please contact our highly experienced team today.