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Cool Efficiently This Summer


Make sure your A/C is in shape for summer. The best time to service your home’s air-conditioning system is when you don’t need it. If you put it off until it’s 90 degrees outdoors, you could be dealing with some downtime that can leave conditions in your home pretty uncomfortable.

There are several options when it comes to making sure your system is running efficiently; you can hire a technician to tune up and inspect your system annually, or take proactive steps to ensure the longevity of your system.

Hiring a Licensed HVAC Technician

The annual service of your air-conditioning unit is important because your technician will lubricate and clean moving parts, and check for—and repair—potential problems. That will make it more likely that your system will run smoothly all summer.

Choose a state-licensed A/C technician. You can find licensed technicians by county at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation online at www.tdlr.texas.gov/LicenseSearch or by calling 1-800-803-9202. Chances are, the same technician can come back in the fall to tune up your heating system.

If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned Energy Star approval. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with qualified models can cut your annual energy bill by more than $115, making it easy to recoup the investment through lower electric bills in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Steps You Can Take for Efficiency

As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system can have a big effect on your utility bills—and your comfort. You can take the following steps to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.

Change your air filter regularly. Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every three months. A dirty filter slows down airflow and makes the system work harder to keep you warm or cool, wasting energy and money in the process. A clean filter prevents buildups of dust and dirt in the system that can lead to expensive maintenance or early system failure.

Install a programmable thermostat. “Smart” thermostats are ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of preprogrammed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.

Seal your heating and cooling ducts. Ducts that move air to and from a forced-air furnace, central air conditioner or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%—and sometimes much more.

First, focus on sealing ducts that run through the attic, garage or crawl space, if you have one. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. Do not use duct tape, despite its name.

After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house.

Before you invest in a new HVAC system, though, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and ducts. Sometimes these are the real sources of problems.

Through BEC’s Energy Saver Program, members can finance the cost of upgrading their HVAC system and/or furnace with no money down, interest-free financing right on your monthly electric bill. Learn more at BanderaElectric.com/EnergySaver.

Posted: 4/2/2021 2:33:18 PM
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