As summer temperatures rise, so do electric bills. And with heating and cooling accounting for about 55 percent of energy use*, your HVAC system is the best place to start looking for savings.
“When we’re evaluating the energy efficiency of a home or business,” said PEC Senior Energy Service Advisor Chris Denison, “we always start with HVAC. That’s where you can find the biggest potential savings.”
But you don’t need an expert like Denison to test the efficiency of your equipment. He says it’s cheap and easy to do yourself.
“The difference between the temperature of the air going into your HVAC unit’s air filter and the temperature of the air coming out of the vents should be about 20 degrees. Seventeen or 18 degrees is acceptable, but if it’s below that, it’s time to have the unit serviced.”
Test your HVAC unit
- With a digital probe thermometer (about $12), measure the temperature of the air being pulled into your HVAC filter.
- While the air conditioning is blowing, measure the temperature of the air coming from the vent.
- If the vent air is about 20 degrees lower (as low as 17 degrees is acceptable), your unit is operating efficiently. If not, it’s time to have your unit serviced.
While you’re testing, you can also check different rooms in your home to discover potential duct or air delivery issues.
*Based on a 3,000-square-foot, all-electric home with a family of four using an average of 2,200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month.