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Create an Energy Efficient Home with the Proper HVAC System

Heating and cooling your home accounts for almost half of the energy your household uses. So it’s no surprise that an energy efficient home remodel can go a long way toward both enhancing your comfort and helping the environment. In addition to conducting an energy audit to learn about the inefficiencies in your home, installing the right HVAC system can help regulate the environmental factors inside your home, like air quality, humidity and temperature. 

Is Your HVAC System Using Too Much Energy? 

When undergoing an energy efficient home remodel, you may wonder about the efficiency of your HVAC unit. If any of the following is true for your home or HVAC unit, the system is probably using too much energy:

  • Your home is too humid, dusty or never the right temperature. When this is the case, your ductwork may have a leak or need proper insulation.  
  • Some rooms are too hot or too cold. If a home isn’t properly sealed or insulated, hot or cold air can escape, making your HVAC system work harder.  Improperly designed or installed systems may mean heat is not getting to where it should.
  • You’ve had the HVAC system for more than 10 years. Newer systems take advantage of new technologies.  Even systems 10 years old could be 15% less efficient.
  • Your energy bills keep getting more expensive and you frequently need to repair the HVAC system. This may be a sign of a poorly installed or designed system.  A good technician can correct these flaws to make the system work properly – or, if needed, replace it.
  • You don’t program the thermostat. When you set a programmable thermostat to adjust your home’s temperature at different times of the day (like when you go to work), you can maximize the HVAC system’s efficiency and reduce the costs of operation

 

Negative Environmental Impacts of Poor HVAC Performance 

When an HVAC system doesn’t perform well, it can impact both the health of a home’s occupants and the environment, as the level of indoor pollutants may increase. Such pollutants include carbon dioxide, VOC emissions and molds that grow on unprotected surfaces of the unit.  

Many HVAC systems are powered by coal electricity power plants, which make a big contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. An inefficient system puts added strain on the power facility, causing it to discharge extra nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, creating acid rain. The refrigerants used in these systems contain substances that contribute to climate change and ozone depletion when the coolant leaks into the atmosphere. These substances include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). 

Tips for an Energy Efficient Home Remodel 

  • Conduct an energy audit. Once you learn about your home’s trouble spots, you can get a plan of action to remedy them.
  • Replace old HVAC systems with high-efficiency furnaces and heat pumps. You’ll help the environment and reduce your energy consumption. Keep in mind, the higher the HSPF and EER ratings, the more energy efficient the unit.
  • Consider solar electric systems. Solar power comes from a clean, renewable resource and lessens the demand on power plants. 
  • Maintain your HVAC system. Regular maintenance prevents future repairs and keeps the system at peak performance.
  • Seal and insulate your home. Insulation and sealants used around doors, windows and other openings remedy hidden air leaks and make your HVAC system more efficient and comfortable. You can learn about the areas to seal and insulate during a professional energy audit.

 

Simple updates to your home will aid in the fight against global warming and the quest for a comfortable home. Plus, when you take care of your home by making energy efficient changes, it will return the favor in the form of savings of up to 20 percent on your energy bill.

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Author Bio: This post was contributed by Jonathan Cohen, the Founder and Principal at Imagine Energy (http://www.imagineenergy.net/), and energy consulting and contracting firm based in Portland, Oregon. Imagine Energy provides complete energy solutions with in-house HVAC, Solar, Insulation, Plumbing, and Electrical services.