The HVAC system of your home is one of the most important systems in your home, at least we would argue. Next to plumbing and electrical, it is one of the vital systems that make having a home in the Houston area bearable. Yet if you have been in your home a while, how do you know when it is best to upgrade your AC or furnace? We are going to help you figure out when to Upgrade Your HVAC System.
What Does Upgrading Your HVAC Mean?
First, let’s go into what we mean by upgrading. Many homeowners hear that word and instantly think we are meaning replacing the AC or Heating unit. That is not the case. We are describing things you can do to a) extend the life of your current HVAC system and b) help you save on your energy bills. Now, in general, it takes more energy to heat up a home than it does to cool it down. Think of the big freeze a couple years ago vs. our hot summers. Here in Houston, we do a lot more cooling of our homes than heating.
Determining Which System (Heating or Cooling) to Upgrade First.
It’s quick to assume that focusing on the AC system is the way to go, considering Houston’s climate. Yet, you need to look at your energy bills year-round and see if you are using more kilowatt hours cooling your home or heating it up. From there, there is a math formula to help you out in figuring out which system to upgrade and what upgrades would save you the most. To do this, estimate the following:
· Current monthly energy use in kilowatt hours
· Cost per kilowatt hour
· Estimated cost of potential HVAC upgrades
· Estimated energy saved per month with new upgrades, in kilowatt hours
You are essentially looking to answer this question, how long will it take for the cost of kilowatts saved to recoup your initial upgrade investment?
Upgrade costs = Kilowatt hours saved x cost per kilowatt hour x (months)
HVAC Upgrades for Saving on Energy Bills and Extending HVAC Life
By now you probably have at least heard of the term Smart Thermostat, even though you may not understand what they do. If you are a homeowner, by now you understand a regular thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature via a control panel on the wall somewhere in your home. What a smart thermostat does is it connects your HVAC system to the internet, allowing you to monitor and control your home temperature remotely using your phone. Smart thermostats also closely monitor and adjusts home’s ambient temperature and then sends a signal to your heating and cooling system to make the changes according to your pre-set schedule, the current weather, and even when a certain number of people are in your home. If you don’t want to create schedules or program your thermostat, many of these Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats learn your habits and preferences over time, you can just let your new thermostat develop a schedule for you over the course of a couple of weeks. And if it’s too cold or hot, open the app and turn the air up or down to a more comfortable temperature to help it learn.
Smart Vents to Connect with Smart Thermostat
Smart vents replace the air vents in your home and connect to a smart thermostat. By connecting the two smart devices, the vents can better control the air flow in the room. By learning patterns along with preset settings, the vents can open and close by themselves with the help of the smart thermostat.
Variable Speed Blower
Many modern furnaces and ac units come with a variable speed blower instead of the one- or two-stage blowers in older or less expensive models. If you have an older model (10 to 15 years) your blower may be something to replace. Unlike conventional fan motors, a variable speed blower motor runs at different speeds to precisely control the flow of heated or cooled air throughout your home. Better airflow control means a better balance of temperature and humidity. A variable speed motor also gradually ramps up to full speed. This eliminates the sudden, noisy blast of air that’s associated with standard furnace motors.
Between the federal government, state local governments you may be able to take advantage of tax credits. Programs available through Energy Star offer financial incentives in the form of tax rebates. These credits and rebates can help put money back in your pocket come tax time.
Though this may not sound like an upgrade, if you are not maintaining your HVAC system yearly, the savings can feel like an upgrade. That is because regular maintenance helps your system’s energy efficiency, which makes annual service appointments a smart investment.
Here in the Northwest Houston area, if you have not serviced your HVAC unit, call Be Cool AC & Heating to schedule a AC maintenance inspection. We have years of in-the-field experience and are rated #1 on NextDoor. We can also help you figure out which upgrades are perfect for your HVAC system to help extend its life and save you money year-round.