CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Heating. Ventilation. Air Conditioning. Collectively known as “HVAC,” this system can account for a significant portion of one’s monthly electric bill.
As we move into the dog days of summer, Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric utility, is offering ways to increase the efficiency of HVAC systems during the remaining warm-weather months.
“The energy used to cool a home in the summer – and heat it during winter – can account for half of monthly electric bills,” said Duke Energy’s Smart $aver® product manager, Nathan Cranford.
“Properly maintaining a home’s HVAC system can save money and also improve comfort in the home,” Cranford said.
To increase HVAC efficiency during summer months, Duke Energy recommends the following:
A new, high-efficiency air conditioner uses about half the energy of older models. If an air conditioner is less than 10 years old, maintain it well and keep it. If an air conditioner is more than 10 years old, the best alternative might be to replace it with a new, high-efficiency model.
During summer months, set the thermostat at the highest comfortable setting. Energy Star recommends a minimum set point of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjusting a thermostat up even a few degrees can yield significant savings on electric bills.
Clean or replace HVAC filters monthly at a minimum; more often, if needed.
Keep coils on the exterior AC unit free of dirt, grass clippings and leaves.
Humidity makes an AC unit work harder. While it’s tempting to give your AC unit a rest on cooler nights and open the windows instead, it might be better to keep the windows closed to keep drier, cooler air indoors. Also, if hot weather is forecast for the next day, keep the AC on – and doors and windows closed through the night – to keep humidity out.